IL-6 cytokine family and signal transduction: a model of the cytokine system

J Mol Med (Berl). 1996 Jan;74(1):1-12. doi: 10.1007/BF00202068.


The interleukin 6 (IL-6) cytokine family, which includes IL-6, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), oncostatin M (OSM), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), IL-11 and cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1), exhibits pleiotropy and redundancy in biological activities. The IL-6 family cytokines exhibit a helical structure. Their receptors belong to the type 1 cytokine receptor family. The receptors of the IL-6 family cytokines share a receptor subunit, which explains one of the mechanisms of functional redundancy. In this review, we describe the general features of the IL-6 cytokine family and its signal transduction mechanisms. Many functional properties of the IL-6 family of cytokines and their receptors are general features of the cytokine system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130
  • DNA / genetics
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Kinases / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • ras Proteins / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • IL6ST protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130
  • DNA
  • Protein Kinases
  • ras Proteins