The impact of anti-inflammatory cytokines on the pancreatic β-cell

Islets. 2014;6(3):e950547. doi: 10.4161/19382014.2014.950547.


Considerable efforts have been invested to understand the mechanisms by which pro-inflammatory cytokines mediate the demise of β-cells in type 1 diabetes but much less attention has been paid to the role of anti-inflammatory cytokines as potential cytoprotective agents in these cells. Despite this, there is increasing evidence that anti-inflammatory molecules such as interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10 and IL-13 can exert a direct influence of β-cell function and viability and that the circulating levels of these cytokines may be reduced in type 1 diabetes. Thus, it seems possible that targeting of anti-inflammatory pathways might offer therapeutic potential in this disease. In the present review, we consider the evidence implicating IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13 as cytoprotective agents in the β-cell and discuss the receptor components and downstream signaling pathways that mediate these effects.

Keywords: GSIS, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion; IL, interleukin; Jak, janus kinase; NO, nitric oxide; PTP, protein tyrosine phosphatase; SOCS, suppressor of cytokine signaling; STAT, signal transducer and activator of transcription; STAT3; STAT6; T1D, type 1 diabetes; Th, T-helper; interleukin-10; interleukin-13; interleukin-4; type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / immunology*
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Interleukins
  • Receptors, Interleukin