IL-6 as a Keystone Cytokine in Health and Disease

Nat Immunol. 2015 May;16(5):448-57. doi: 10.1038/ni.3153.

Abstract

Interleukin 6 (IL-6) has a broad effect on cells of the immune system and those not of the immune system and often displays hormone-like characteristics that affect homeostatic processes. IL-6 has context-dependent pro- and anti-inflammatory properties and is now regarded as a prominent target for clinical intervention. However, the signaling cassette that controls the activity of IL-6 is complicated, and distinct intervention strategies can inhibit this pathway. Clinical experience with antagonists of IL-6 has raised new questions about how and when to block this cytokine to improve disease outcome and patient wellbeing. Here we discuss the effect of IL-6 on innate and adaptive immunity and the possible advantages of various antagonists of IL-6 and consider how the immunobiology of IL-6 may inform clinical decisions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Blocking / pharmacology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunotherapy / trends*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Interleukin-6 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology*
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / immunology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / therapy*

Substances

  • Antibodies, Blocking
  • IL6R protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6