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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 721608, 6 pages
Review Article

The Many Faces of Interleukin-6: The Role of IL-6 in Inflammation, Vasculopathy, and Fibrosis in Systemic Sclerosis

Department of Rheumatology, Institute of Chronic Disease and Ageing, University of Liverpool and Clinical Sciences Centre, Aintree University Hospital, Longmoor Lane, Liverpool L9 7AL, UK

Received 1 June 2011; Accepted 21 July 2011

Academic Editor: Lorinda Chung

Copyright © 2011 Theresa C. Barnes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interleukin-6 is currently attracting significant interest as a potential therapeutic target in systemic sclerosis (SSc). In this paper, the biology of interleukin-6 is reviewed, and the evidence for interleukin-6 dysregulation in SSc is explored. The role of inteleukin-6 classical and trans signalling pathways in SSc relevant phenomena such as chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, endothelial cell dysfunction, and fibrogenesis is discussed. The existing evidence that interventions designed to block interleukin-6 signalling are of therapeutic relevance in SSc is evaluated.