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Trends Immunol. 2012 Nov;33(11):571-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Interleukin-6: from an inflammatory marker to a target for inflammatory diseases.

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Department of Medicine/Immunobiology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


The incidence and diversity of chronic inflammatory diseases is increasing worldwide. However, the complexity of clinical symptoms has made it difficult to develop therapies that provide a substantial improvement for extended periods of time in a wide range of patient groups. Thus, there is a need for new therapies that target inflammatory responses without compromising immune defense. Interleukin (IL)-6, one of the first identified cytokines, has recently been recognized as a potential target in inflammatory disease. Here, I discuss how this cytokine has evolved from being a marker of inflammation to a successful target to control inflammation. I will summarize the results from the recent clinical studies using IL-6 receptor blockade, and describe potential mechanisms by which IL-6 can contribute to the progression of inflammatory diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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