Recent advances in neutralizing the IL-6 pathway in arthritis
Charles J Malemud
Division of Rheumatic Diseases, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Abstract: Recent advances in understanding the mechanism(s) of how IL-6 trans-signaling regulates immune cell function and promotes inflammation in autoimmune arthritis are critically reviewed. Serum and/or synovial fluid (SF) IL-6 is markedly elevated in adult and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and osteoarthritis (OA). IL-6, in concert with IL-17, determines the fate of CD4+ lymphocytes and therefore TH17 cell differentiation. IL-6 also plays a critical role in modulating B-lymphocyte activity. The recognition that IL-6 trans-signaling regulates inflammation resulted in the development of tocilizumab, a fully humanized monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the biological activity of the IL-6-receptor (IL-6R). Significant clinical benefit was demonstrated as well as reduced serum IL-6 levels with suppression of X-ray progression of disease in several clinical trials in which juvenile or adult RA patients were treated with tocilizumab monotherapy or tocilizumab plus methotrexate. However, levels of serum and/or SF IL-6 cytokine protein superfamily members, adiponectin, oncostatin M, pre-B-cell colony enhancing factor/visfatin and leukemia inhibitory factor are also elevated in RA. Additional studies will be required to determine if anti-IL-6 trans-signaling inhibition strategies with tocilizumab or recombinant soluble IL-6R reduce the level of these cytokines.
Keywords: interleukin-6, interleukin-6/interleukin-6 receptor/glycoprotein 130, JAK/STAT pathway, SAP/MAPK pathway, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF]