A roadmap to target interleukin-6 in osteoarthritis.

Joint inflammation is present in the majority of OA patients and pro-inflammatory mediators, such as IL-6, are actively involved in disease progression. Increased levels of IL-6 in serum or synovial fluid from OA patients correlate with disease incidence and severity, with IL-6 playing a pivotal role in the development of cartilage pathology, e.g. via induction of matrix-degrading enzymes. However, IL-6 also increases expression of anti-catabolic factors, suggesting a protective role. Until now, this dual role of IL-6 is incompletely understood and may be caused by differential effects of IL-6 classic vs trans-signalling. Here, we review current evidence regarding the role of IL-6 classic- and trans-signalling in local joint pathology of cartilage, synovium and bone. Furthermore, we discuss targeting of IL-6 in experimental OA models and provide future perspective for OA treatment by evaluating currently available IL-6 targeting strategies.

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