Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 08.07.2022

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26 kDa protein; B cell stimulation factor 2 (BSF-2); B cell stimulation factor p2 (BSF-p2); B cell stimulatory factor 2 (BSF-2); B cell stimulatory factor (BCSF); CDF); Choline acetyltransferase development factor (CAT development factor; Choline acetyltransferase development factor (CAT development factor CDF); Colony promoting activity (CPA); Cytolytic differentiation factor for T lymphocytes (CDF); Cytotoxic T cell differentiation factor; differentiation inducing factor (DIF); Differentiation inducing factor for human monoblastic leukemia cells; Fibroblast derived differentiation inducing factor for human monoblastic leukemia cells; fibroblast-derived growth inhibitor (FDGI); Haematopoietic CSF 309; hepatocyte stimulating factor (HSF); Hepatocyte stimulatory factor 1 (HSF-1); Hepatocyte stimulatory factor (HSF); HP1; Human endothelial culture supernatant (HECS); hybridoma growth factor (HGF); Hybridoma growth factor (HGF); hybridoma/plasmacytoma growth factor (HPGF); Hybridoma/plasmacytoma growth factor (HPGF); IL-6; Interferon β2 (INF-β2); Interleukin 6IL-6B cell differentiation factor (BCDF); interleukin-haemopoietin-1 (Il-HP1); interleukin hybridoma/plasmacytoma-1 (ILHP1); Interleukin hybridoma/plasmacytoma-1 (ILHP1); macrophage-granulocyte inducer 2 (MGI-2); Macrophage-granulocyte inducing protein 2A (MGI-2A); Monocyte derived human B cell growth factor; Murine lung-derived growth inhibitory factor (L-GI factor); myeloma growth factor; natural killer cell activating factor (NKAF); plasmacytoma growth factor (PCT-GF oder PGF); T cell activating factor (TAF); Thymocyte growth factor (THCGF); Thymocyte stimulating factor (TSF); WI-26-VA4 factor; WI-26-VA4 factor.

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Interleukin-6 is a proinflammatory glycoprotein consisting of 184 amino acids. In humans, the gene encoding interleukin-6 is located on the 7th chromosome.

Interleukin-6 binds to specific interleukin-6 receptors(IL-6R = CD126) and forms complexes with them that bind to the ubiquitous membrane-bound gp-130. The receptors for interleukin-6 are located on T- lymphocytes, on activated B-lymphocytes, on monocytes, hepatocytes as well as on B-cell lymphoma cells. 200-1500 receptors are expressed per cell.The gene encoding interleukin-6 is located on the 7th chromosome.

Interleukin-6 is secreted mainly by monocytes/macrophages, but also by epithelial and endothelial cells. Interleukin-6 has broad biological effects.

The cytokine is significantly involved in the regulation of humoral and cell-mediated immune defense. It promotes the differentiation of CD4+ lymphocytes into Th17 cells. The cytokine further causes the differentiation of B lymphocytes and macrophages and the maturation of megakaryocytes and osteoclasts. The cytokine stimulates the synthesis of immunoglobulins G and M, the "oxidative burst" in monocytes and neutrophil granulocytes. Interleukin-6 induces the secretion of acute phase proteins in the liver (C-reactive protein, ferritin, serum amyloid A) as well as the production of other cytokines, and together with interleukin-1 and TNFalpha acts as an endogenous pyrogen.

Interleukin-6 stimulates the release of ACTH from the pituitary gland; the glucocorticoids produced in response, in turn, inhibit the production of interleukin-6 (negative feedback between the immune system and the neuroendocrine system).

General information
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Standard value: The standard value is up to 10 µg/ml

General therapy
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Still experimental are therapy studies with monoclonal antibodies blocking the IL-6 receptor(tocilizumab) in systemic amyloidosis.

A smaller study with tocilizumab exists for systemic lupus erythematosus. Significant improvement was seen in disease activity of SLE in 8 of 15 pat. Arthritis improved in 7 pat. DNA-AK levels decreased, as did IgG levels.
Single case reports are available of positive effects in systemic scleroderma.

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Overexpression of interleukin-6 results in a strong increase in serum IgG1 concentration with possible development of glomerulonephritis. In addition, an increased serum concentration of interleukin-6 appears to be involved in the development of a variety of diseases, e.g. chronic polyarthritis, myeloma, lymphomas, rheumatoid arthritis and liver cirrhosis.

Polymorphisms in the interleukin-6 gene (IL-6-174G/C and IL-6-572G/C) appear to increase the risk of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Last updated on: 08.07.2022