Cytokine disturbances in systemic lupus erythematosus

Arthritis Res Ther. 2011 Jul 6;13(4):228. doi: 10.1186/ar3349.


The pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is complex, and the resulting disease manifestations are heterogeneous. Cytokine dysregulation is pervasive, and their protein and gene expression profiles may serve as markers of disease activity and severity. Importantly, biologic agents that target specific cytokines may represent novel therapies for SLE. Four cytokines (IL-6, TNFα, IFNα, and BLyS) are being evaluated as therapeutic targets in SLE. The present review will examine the roles of each of these cytokines in murine and human SLE, and will summarize results from clinical trials of agents that target these cytokines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / immunology*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interferon-alpha / immunology*
  • Interleukin-6 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology
  • Mice
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology*


  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha