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Biology of recently discovered cytokines: Interleukin-17 – a unique inflammatory cytokine with roles in bone biology and arthritis

Sarah L Gaffen

Author Affiliations

Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, USA

Arthritis Res Ther 2004, 6:240-247  doi:10.1186/ar1444

Published: 8 October 2004


IL-17 and its receptor are founding members of an emerging family of cytokines and receptors with many unique characteristics. IL-17 is produced primarily by T cells, particularly those of the memory compartment. In contrast, IL-17 receptor is ubiquitously expressed, making nearly all cells potential targets of IL-17. Although it has only limited homology to other cytokines, IL-17 exhibits proinflammatory properties similar to those of tumor necrosis factor-α, particularly with respect to induction of other inflammatory effectors. In addition, IL-17 synergizes potently with other cytokines, placing it in the center of the inflammatory network. Strikingly, IL-17 has been associated with several bone pathologies, most notably rheumatoid arthritis.

bone; cytokines; interleukin-17; inflammation; synergy