Anticytokine autoantibody-associated immunodeficiency

Annu Rev Immunol. 2014;32:635-57. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032713-120222. Epub 2014 Feb 5.


Anticytokine autoantibodies are an emerging mechanism of disease in previously healthy adults. Patients with these syndromes demonstrate a unique infectious phenotype associated with neutralizing autoantibodies that target a specific cytokine. Examples include anti-interferon (IFN)-γ autoantibodies and disseminated nontuberculous mycobacteria; anti-granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor autoantibodies and cryptococcal meningitis; anti-interleukin (IL)-6 autoantibodies and staphylococcal skin infection; and anti-IL-17A, anti-IL-17F, or anti-IL-22 autoantibodies and mucocutaneous candidiasis in the setting of either APECED (autoimmune polyendocrinopathy, candidiasis, ectodermal dystrophy syndrome) or thymoma. Other anticytokine autoantibodies may contribute to an infectious phenotype such as anti-granulocyte colony stimulating factor and anti-IFN-α autoantibodies, although the strength of the association is less clear. Their identification not only affects disease management but also may uncover key mechanisms of host defense against specific organisms. Furthermore, it raises the possibility that currently idiopathic diseases will someday be explained by a yet unidentified anticytokine autoantibody. This review focuses on the current understanding, both clinical and mechanistic, of anticytokine autoantibody-associated immunodeficiency.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Candidiasis / diagnosis
  • Candidiasis / immunology
  • Candidiasis / therapy
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / immunology*
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / therapy
  • Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune / diagnosis
  • Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune / immunology
  • Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune / therapy
  • Thymoma / diagnosis
  • Thymoma / immunology
  • Thymoma / therapy


  • Autoantibodies
  • Cytokines