Purpose of review: Interleukin-17 (IL-17) has emerged as a key cytokine involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. In this article, we review recently produced evidence obtained in patients and murine models of lupus that link increased IL-17 production with lupus pathology and discuss the potential roles IL-17 may play in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus.
Recent findings: IL-17 may promote autoantibody production and IL-17-producing cells are found in afflicted organs in humans and lupus-prone mice. TH17 and CD3+CD4-CD8- cells are expanded in systemic lupus erythematosus patients and account for the increased production of IL-17. Genetic silencing of genes involved in the increased production of IL-17 in lupus-prone mice as well as treatment of mice with lupus using biologic agents that result in decreased IL-17 production leads invariably to disease mitigation.
Summary: The presented evidence strongly argues for the introduction of IL-17-suppressing biologics in the treatment of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.