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Highly Accessed Review

The biological and clinical importance of the 'new generation' cytokines in rheumatic diseases

Cem Gabay1* and Iain B McInnes2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology, University Hospitals of Geneva & Department of Pathology-Immunology, University of Geneva Medical School, 26 Avenue Beau-Séjour, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland

2 Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammation, Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre, University of Glasgow, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:230  doi:10.1186/ar2680

Published: 19 May 2009

Abstract

A better understanding of cytokine biology over the last two decades has allowed the successful development of cytokine inhibitors against tumour necrosis factor and interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6. The introduction of these therapies should be considered a breakthrough in the management of several rheumatic diseases. However, many patients will exhibit no or only partial response to these therapies, thus emphasising the importance of exploring other therapeutic strategies. In this article, we review the most recent information on novel cytokines that are often members of previously described cytokine families such as the IL-1 superfamily (IL-18 and IL-33), the IL-12 superfamily (IL-27 and IL-35), the IL-2 superfamily (IL-15 and IL-21), and IL-17. Several data derived from experimental models and clinical samples indicate that some of these cytokines contribute to the pathophysiology of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Targeting of some of these cytokines has already been tested in clinical trials with interesting results.