Efficacy and cytokine modulating effects of tacrolimus in systemic lupus erythematosus: a review

J Biomed Biotechnol. 2010;2010:686480. doi: 10.1155/2010/686480. Epub 2010 Jun 28.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex systemic autoimmune disease with involvement of both B cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes and several cytokines aberrations. Standard therapy for SLE has its limitations. Tacrolimus, a novel calcineurin inhibitor with potent immunosuppressive effects, has been shown in the recent years to be effective in SLE therapy. This paper serves to collate the experimental and clinical data on the efficacy of tacrolimus in the treatment of SLE and lupus nephritis. Tacrolimus as a key component of multitarget therapy in SLE is also discussed. The immunocytokine modulatory effects of tacrolimus are also reviewed with reference to SLE. It can be concluded that tacrolimus has an established role in the management of SLE.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Tacrolimus / pharmacology*
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines
  • Estrogens
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Tacrolimus