Cytokines in autoimmunity: role in induction, regulation, and treatment

J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2011 Oct;31(10):695-703. doi: 10.1089/jir.2011.0065. Epub 2011 Sep 23.

Abstract

Cytokines play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. The precise triggers for the breakdown of self-tolerance and the subsequent events leading to the induction of pathogenic autoimmune responses remain to be defined for most of the naturally occurring autoimmune diseases. Studies conducted in experimental models of human autoimmune diseases and observations in patients have revealed a general scheme in which proinflammatory cytokines contribute to the initiation and propagation of autoimmune inflammation, whereas anti-inflammatory cytokines facilitate the regression of inflammation and recovery from acute phase of the disease. This idea is embodied in the T helper (Th) 1/Th2 paradigm, which over the past two decades has had a major influence on our thinking about the role of cytokines in autoimmunity. Interestingly, over the past decade, the interleukin (IL)-17/IL-23 axis has rapidly emerged as the new paradigm that has compelled us to critically re-examine the cytokine-driven immune events in the pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmunity. In this 2-volume special issue of the journal, leading experts have presented their research findings and viewpoints on the role of cytokines in the context of specific autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Self Tolerance
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*

Substances

  • Cytokines