Immunity 2019 Apr;50(4):1007-1023
Department of Immune Regulation, Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University, 3-1 Yamadaoka, Suita City, Osaka, Japan. Electronic address:
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pleiotropic cytokine with roles in immunity, tissue regeneration, and metabolism. Rapid production of IL-6 contributes to host defense during infection and tissue injury, but excessive synthesis of IL-6 and dysregulation of IL-6 receptor signaling is involved in disease pathology. Therapeutic agents targeting the IL-6 axis are effective in rheumatoid arthritis, and applications are being extended to other settings of acute and chronic inflammation. Recent studies reveal that selective blockade of different modes of IL-6 receptor signaling has different outcomes on disease pathology, suggesting novel strategies for therapeutic intervention. However, some inflammatory diseases do not seem to respond to IL-6 blockade. Here, we review the current state of IL-6-targeting approaches in the clinic and discuss how to apply the growing understanding of the immunobiology of IL-6 to clinical decisions.