Interleukin-31: a novel diagnostic marker of allergic diseases

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2014 Apr;14(4):423. doi: 10.1007/s11882-014-0423-y.


Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a newly discovered cytokine associated with chronic skin inflammation and pruritus. Patients with atopic dermatitis, chronic spontaneous urticaria, allergic contact dermatitis, prurigo nodularis, primary cutaneous lymphoma and mastocytosis exhibit increased serum levels of IL-31 protein and elevated IL-31 mRNA in the skin. Interestingly, in some of these diseases, IL-31 serum levels correlate with disease activity. In the present review, we particularly focus on studies investigating IL-31 as a novel diagnostic biomarker indicating the severity of allergic diseases. We highlight a recent study on IL-31 in mastocytosis, which reports on elevated serum levels of IL-31 in adults correlating with the severity of disease categories, tryptase levels and percentage of bone marrow infiltration. We conclude that growing knowledge about IL-31, its receptors and signaling pathways serves to better understand the pathogenesis of allergic diseases and may lead to the development of novel treatment approaches.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / blood*
  • Mastocytosis / diagnosis
  • Pruritus / diagnosis


  • Biomarkers
  • IL31 protein, human
  • Interleukins