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Arthritis Rheum. 1988 Jun;31(6):784-8.

Interleukin-6 in synovial fluid and serum of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory arthritides.

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Experimental Medicine Unit, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6), also called 26-kd protein, hybridoma plasmacytoma growth factor, beta 2-interferon, or B cell stimulatory factor 2, is a recently described human cytokine with multiple growth and differentiation activities. Using a very sensitive bioassay based on the growth factor activity of this protein for B cell hybridomas, we found that IL-6 activity was significantly elevated in synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or other inflammatory arthritides, as compared with that in a group of patients with osteoarthritis. Moreover, IL-6 was detected in about one-third of the serum samples from patients with RA. In the latter group, we found a significant correlation between serum IL-6 activity and serum levels of C-reactive protein, alpha 1-acid glycoprotein, alpha 1-antitrypsin, fibrinogen, and haptoglobin, which indicates that IL-6 is related to disease activity in patients with RA.

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