Abstract Interleukin-6(IL-6) is a pleiotropic cytokine previously known as B cell stimulatory factor (BSF-2), interferon-β2 (IFN-β2), 26-kDa protein, and hepatocyte stimulating factor (HSF). The name IL-6 was proposed when the nucleotide sequences of the cDNAs for these proteins had been determined and the molecules were found to be identical. IL-6 production can be induced by a wide variety of agents in a wide range of cells, although IL-6 gene expression seems to be regulated in a tissue and stimulus specific manner. At least 3 different signal pathways regulate IL-6 gene expression, emphasizing its multiply inducible nature. The currently known activities of IL-6 include regulatory functions in hematopoiesis, immune reactions and acute phase responses. IL-6 appears to be a key member of the IL family; however, it is still poorly understood how IL-6 interacts with other lymphokines within the network. The anti-viral activity of IL-6 seems to be negligible. Elevated IL-6 levels have been found in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple myeloma and systemic lupus erythematosus. The abnormal expression and dysregulation of IL-6 in certain disorders may be a typical feature of this cytokine, making it the first cytokine that may be directly related to pathogenesis.

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doi.org/10.1016/0165-2478(90)90028-O, hdl.handle.net/1765/71543
Immunology Letters
Department of Surgery

Wolvekamp, M. C. J., & Marquet, R. (1990). Interleukin-6: Historical background, genetics and biological significance. Immunology Letters, 24(1), 1–9. doi:10.1016/0165-2478(90)90028-O