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Gene of the month: Interleukin 6 (IL-6)
  1. Parvin Ataie-Kachoie1,
  2. Mohammad H Pourgholami1,
  3. Des R Richardson2,
  4. David L Morris1,3
  1. 1Department of Surgery, St George Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Molecular Pharmacology and Pathology Program, Department of Pathology and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Cancer research laboratories, Department of Surgery, St George and Sutherland Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor David L Morris, Professor and Head of Department of Surgery, Level 3 Pitney Building, St. George Hospital, Gray St., Kogarah, Sydney, NSW 2217, Australia; david.morris{at}unsw.edu.au

Abstract

The Interleukin 6 (IL-6) gene encodes the classic proinflammatory cytokine IL-6. It is also known as interferon-β2 (IFN-β2), B cell stimulatory factor-2 and hybridoma/plasmacytoma growth factor. IL-6 is a multifunctional cytokine with a central role in many physiological inflammatory and immunological processes. Due to its major role in initiation as well as resolving inflammation, deregulation of IL-6 is a mainstay of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, IL-6 has been shown to be implicated in pathogenesis of many human malignancies. Thus, a better understanding of IL-6 and its role in various pathological conditions could enable the development of strategies to use it as a therapeutic target. This short review focuses on the structure, regulation and biological activities of IL-6. In addition we discuss the role of IL-6 in diseases with inflammatory background and cancer and also the therapeutic applications of anti-IL-6 agents.

  • Inflammation
  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology

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