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Eur Cytokine Netw. 2000 Sep;11(3):483-6.

Interleukin-18, a proinflammatory cytokine.

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University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA.


Although IL-18 is an inducer of IFN-gamma and Th1 responses. IL-18 is a proinflammatory cytokine by several criteria. In several animal models. antibodies that neutralize endogenous IL-18 reduce the severity of disease. Endotoxin lethality is prevented by anti-IL-18. Even in models that are interferon-y independent, neutralization of IL-18 prolongs survival. Anti-IL-18 also protects the liver against cellular injury induced by toxins or activated T cells. In models of hepatic melanoma metastasis. IL-18 blockade reduces the adherence of malignant cells by preventing IL-18 upregulation of vascular endothelial adhesion-1 molecule expression. IL-18 and IL-12 act synergistically to stimulate I cells and natural killer cells to produce IFN-gamma but neutralization of IL-18 prevents IL-12 induction of IFN-gamma. IL-18. like several cytokines. can be used to enhance host defense against tumors in mice a mechanism that is most often IFN-gamma-dependent. Nevertheless. it is the proinflammatory portfolio of IL-18 which likely contributes to enhanced host defenses. In models or arthritis, lung injury or inflammatory bowel disease, neutralization of IL-18 reveals the important role of this cytokine in mediating inflammation.

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