Plasticity and cross-talk of interleukin 6-type cytokines

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2012 Jun;23(3):85-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 May 15.


Interleukin (IL)-6-type cytokines are critically involved in health and disease. The duration and strength of IL-6-type cytokine-mediated signaling is tightly regulated to avoid overshooting activities. Here, molecular mechanisms of inter-familiar cytokine cross-talk are reviewed which regulate dynamics and strength of IL-6 signal transduction. Both plasticity and cytokine cross-talk are significantly involved in pro- and anti-inflammatory/regenerative properties of IL-6-type cytokines. Furthermore, we focus on IL-6-type cytokine/cytokine receptor plasticity and cross-talk exemplified by the recently identified composite cytokines IL-30/IL-6R and IL-35, the first inter-familiar IL-6/IL-12 family member. The complete understanding of the intra- and extracellular cytokine networks will aid to develop novel tailor-made therapeutic strategies with reduced side effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130 / physiology
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Glucocorticoids / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / physiology
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology*
  • Interleukins / physiology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Receptors, Cytokine / immunology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Glucocorticoids
  • IL6ST protein, human
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukins
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • interleukin-35, human
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130
  • Interleukin-12
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases