Rheumatoid Arthritis is a widespread disease causing varying degrees of disability. It is characterised by flares and remissions and since ancient times, every culture has tried to get the better of it. Even now, research is aimed at finding novel serum biomarkers as surrogates for disease activity and newer targets to sharpen therapy. One such target is IL-6.It mediates neutrophil migration, osteoclast maturation and pannus formation through vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) stimulation causing synovitis and joint destruction.IL-6 leads to various systemic manifestations like hepcidin production causing anemia hypothalamo-pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activation causing fatigue and mood changes and osteoclast activation causes osteoporosis while increase in acute phase reactants (ESR and CRP). The literature we reviewed and our research, enrolling 40 patients of RA as well describes the role of IL-6 in pathogenesis and various manifestations of RA including articular, extra-articular and other comorbid states. It supports that Serum IL-6 levels correlate with disease activity (DAS-28ESR and BRAF-MDQ) and that IL-6 remains a viable target for drug therapy.
Part of the book: Interleukins