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J Neuroinflammation. 2010 Jan 29;7:9. doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-7-9.

Interleukin 18 in the CNS.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.


Interleukin (IL)-18 is a cytokine isolated as an important modulator of immune responses and subsequently shown to be pleiotropic. IL-18 and its receptors are expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) where they participate in neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative processes but also influence homeostasis and behavior. Work on IL-18 null mice, the localization of the IL-18 receptor complex in neurons and the neuronal expression of decoy isoforms of the receptor subunits are beginning to reveal the complexity and the significance of the IL-18 system in the CNS. This review summarizes current knowledge on the central role of IL-18 in health and disease.

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