Scientists have found that therapies targeting naturally occurring cytokine interleukin-18 (IL-18) could prove effective against inflammatory lung diseases including bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a review article published in the Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research. IL-18 plays a key role in inflammation and has been implicated in serious inflammatory diseases for which the prognosis is poor and there are currently limited treatment options.

The authors reviewed the growing evidence to support the important role IL-18 has in inflammation and how it may help to initiate and worsen inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, dermatitis, and inflammatory diseases of the bowel and immune system. In the article “Interleukin-18 in Pulmonary Inflammatory Diseases,” they describe the potential benefits of therapies aimed at blocking the activity of IL-18 to treat inflammatory lung disease.

"This review provides an interesting and thorough summary of the biology and potential application of IL-18 in the setting of inflammatory pulmonary disease," says Thomas A. Hamilton, PhD, co-editor-in-chief of the journal and chairman of the department of immunology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Source: Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research; Mary Ann Liebert Inc