IL-18 in inflammatory and autoimmune disease

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Dec;70(24):4795-808. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1425-y. Epub 2013 Jul 27.


Inflammation serves as the first line of defense in response to tissue injury, guiding the immune system to ensure preservation of the host. The inflammatory response can be divided into a quick initial phase mediated mainly by innate immune cells including neutrophils and macrophages, followed by a late phase that is dominated by lymphocytes. Early in the new millennium, a key component of the inflammatory reaction was discovered with the identification of a number of cytosolic sensor proteins (Nod-like receptors) that assembled into a common structure, the 'inflammasome'. This structure includes an enzyme, caspase-1, which upon activation cleaves pro-forms of cytokines leading to subsequent release of active IL-1 and IL-18. This review focuses on the role of IL-18 in inflammatory responses with emphasis on autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / immunology
  • Interleukin-18 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-18 / genetics
  • Interleukin-18 / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Mice
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / immunology
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-18 / immunology


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Interleukin-18
  • Receptors, Interleukin-18
  • interleukin-18 binding protein