IL-31: A new key player in dermatology and beyond

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Mar;141(3):858-866. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.10.045. Epub 2018 Feb 1.


IL-31 is a novel cytokine expressed in many human tissues and involved mainly in TH2-weighted inflammation. IL-31 signals through a receptor complex consisting of IL-31 receptor α and oncostatin M receptor β. The available data show that IL-31 is strongly linked with chronic pruritic skin disorders, such as atopic eczema, and represents a novel target for directed drug therapy. Regulation of immune responses and cellular differentiation and proliferation are recently elucidated effects of IL-31, suggesting a more complex and diverse area of effect for this novel cytokine. This review summarizes the current knowledge on IL-31 and its receptors and the involvement of IL-31 in diseases both in human subjects and mouse models.

Keywords: IL-31; atopic eczema; cytokines; interleukins; pruritus; receptors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Interleukin / immunology*


  • IL31 protein, human
  • Il31ra protein, mouse
  • Interleukins
  • Receptors, Interleukin