Interleukin 6 – biological activities and role in rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis
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Online publication date: 2009-04-01
Reumatologia 2009;47(1):24–33
Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a pleiotropic cytokine exerting multidirectional effects on the cells of both innate and acquired immune systems. This cytokine is recognized as a key factor regulating the defence mechanisms of organisms. Its ability to initiate and regulate acute inflammation as well as to facilitate and direct an acquired immune response are the major functions of this cytokine. Interleukin 6 also exerts systemic effects. Overproduction of IL-6 mediates a shift from acute to chronic inflammation and is critical for the development of some diseases. The structure of IL-6 and its receptors, the signal transduction pathways and biological activities, as well as the implications of this cytokine in animal models of both arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are reviewed. Currently available data show that IL-6 blockade will be a useful therapeutic strategy for RA patients and has scientific support.
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