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Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Mar 8;533(1-3):319-26. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Free immunoglobulin light chains as target in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.

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Department of Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, PO Box 80082, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Immunoglobulin free light chains were long considered irrelevant bystander products of immunoglobulin synthesis by B lymphocytes. To date, different studies suggest that free light chains may have important functional activities. For instance, it has been shown that immunoglobulin free light chains can elicit mast cell-driven hypersensitivity responses leading to asthma and contact sensitivity. Free light chains also show other biologic actions such as anti-angiogenic and proteolytic activities or can be used as specific targeting vehicles. Levels of free light chain levels in body fluids increase markedly in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. In this review, we will focus on the unexpected biological activities of immunoglobulin free light chains with special attention to its possible role in the induction of chronic inflammatory diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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