IL-17 inhibition: is it the long-awaited savior for alopecia areata?

Arch Dermatol Res. 2018 Jul;310(5):383-390. doi: 10.1007/s00403-018-1823-y. Epub 2018 Mar 1.


Interleukin-17 (IL-17) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a large number of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, including skin disorders such as psoriasis. Recently, much data have accumulated on the possible role of IL-17 in the pathogenesis of alopecia areata (AA). In this review, the available information on the connection between AA and IL-17 is described. While IL-17 levels are consistently reported to be elevated in the serum and lesional skin of AA patients, there is no clear connection between IL-17 levels and disease severity or duration. Some evidence has suggested an association between IL-17 and an early-onset disease, although this awaits further confirmation. While there is enough information to support clinical trials with IL-17-targeted treatments, it is possible that they will be effective only in a subset of AA patients. Further studies are warranted to better delineate the exact role of IL-17 in AA pathogenesis.

Keywords: Alopecia areata; Autoimmunity; Hair; IL-17; Secukinumab.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia Areata / immunology*
  • Alopecia Areata / therapy
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Interleukin-17 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Psoriasis / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Interleukin-17
  • secukinumab