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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. 1 Department of Surgery, St George Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Molecular Pharmacology and Pathology Program, Department of Pathology and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Cancer 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}


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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