Other names: IL-6
What are Interleukins?
Interleukins are a group of naturally occurring proteins that mediate communication between cells. Interleukins manage cell growth and differentiation. Interleukins are also important in regulating immune responses, such as inflammation.
Interleukins are part of a bigger group of messenger molecules called cytokines. They are a part of the “inflammatory cascade” that involves the coordinated, sequential activation of immune response pathways.
Cytokines are produced by a broad range of cells, including immune cells like macrophages, B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes and mast cells, as well as endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and various stromal cells.
These are the various types of cytokines:
- Tumor Necrosis Factor
Like other cytokines, interleukins are not stored within cells but are instead secreted rapidly, and briefly, in response to a stimulus, such as an infectious agent. Once an interleukin has been produced, it travels to its target cell and binds to it. There are a total of 15 different types of interleukins.
What is Interleukin-6?
IL-6 is produced by white blood cells (leukocytes) and acts on a variety of cells and tissues. It helps regulate immune responses
What are the functions of Interleukin-6?
Interleukin-6 is involved in inflammation and infection responses and also in the regulation of metabolic, regenerative, and neural processes.
It promotes differentiation of white blood cells that produce antibodies (B-cells).
It further promotes cell growth in some cells, and inhibits growth in others. It stimulates the production of acute phase proteins. Acute phase proteins are a class of proteins whose plasma concentrations increase or decrease in response to inflammation.
IL-6 also plays a role in body temperature regulation, bone maintenance, and brain function. It is primarily pro-inflammatory but can also have anti-inflammatory effects.
What are normal Interleukin-6 levels?
IL-6 can be elevated with inflammation, infection, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and some leukemias.
Elevated levels can specifically be due to:
- Too much food sugar/refined foods
- Too much alcohol consumption
- Chronic Stress
- Not enough sleep
- Too much excercise
- Infection, sepsis, and septicemia
- Localized infections, such as prosthetic joint infections (PJI)
- Chronic inflammatory disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
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