Interleukin-2 autoimmune diseases

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Autoimmunity is a cause of many diseases.

Recent epidemiological studies indicate that autoimmune diseases affect at least 10 million Americans. These diseases tend to be chronic and debilitating.

Although they may affect people at any age and of either gender, they are more common in women. Most autoimmune diseases can be treated; however, a cure remains elusive. br>

Knowledge about autoimmune disease has been gleaned from studies of models induced in experimental animals such as rats and mice.

One study showed that a condition resembling inflammatory bowel disease spontaneously developed in a genetically manipulated "knockout" mouse model that was rendered incapable of producing cytokines as interleukin-2 or IL-10. Studies like this have shown that autoimmune disease results from a dysregulation of the immune system.

IL-2 may be an important component in the development of many autoimmune processes. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is an essential factor for the mitosis of lymphocytes. In other words, if there is no IL-2, lymphocytes die.

Here are a few studies that illustrate this point:

Eur J Immunol. 1995 Nov;25(11):3053-9.

Generalized autoimmune disease in interleukin-2-deficient mice is triggered by an uncontrolled activation and proliferation of CD4+ T cells.

Sadlack B, Lohler J, Schorle H, Klebb G, Haber H, Sickel E, Noelle RJ, Horak I.

In this article it was shown in a model of mice that lacked the ability to produce IL-2 that severe autoimmune disease could be generated easily.

Eur J Immunol. 1996 Jul;26(7):1608-12.

Administration of anti-interleukin-2 receptor alpha antibody in vivo induces localized autoimmune disease.

Taguchi O, Takahashi T.

This paper showed that autoimmune disease could be induced in mice treated with a blocking antibody against IL-2.

Interleukin-2 Stimulated T-Lymphocyte Cell Death for the Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases, Allergic Disorders and Graft Rejection

This is an NIH study that presents a new look at the possibility of using IL-2 to stimulate apoptosis (programmed cell death) of T lymphocytes to help in autoimmune disease.

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