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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the possible immunoregulatory role of interleukin-11 (IL-11) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: IL-11 protein was assayed in RA tissue, and the effect of exogenous IL-11 on neutralization of endogenous IL-11 was investigated with respect to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) production. RESULTS: IL-11 was found in RA synovial membranes, synovial fluids, and blood sera. Blockade of endogenous IL-11 resulted in a 2-fold increase in TNFalpha levels, which increased to 22-fold if endogenous IL-10 was also blocked. Addition of exogenous IL-11 inhibited spontaneous TNFalpha production in RA synovium only in the presence of soluble IL-11 receptor. However, exogenous IL-11 directly inhibited spontaneous MMP-1 and MMP-3 production, and up-regulated TIMP-1 in RA synovial tissue. CONCLUSION: IL-11 has important endogenous immunoregulatory effects in RA synovium, which suggests that exogenous IL-11 may have therapeutic activity in RA.

Original publication




Journal article


Arthritis rheum

Publication Date





1388 - 1397


Adjuvants, Immunologic, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Cells, Cultured, Cytokines, Drug Interactions, Enzyme Inhibitors, Fibroblasts, Humans, Inflammation Mediators, Interleukin-1, Interleukin-10, Interleukin-11, Metalloendopeptidases, Monocytes, Receptors, Interleukin, Recombinant Proteins, Solubility, Synovial Fluid, Synovial Membrane, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha