Researchers add insights to IL-37's anti-inflammatory potential

Investigators at Monash University say they have illuminated some of the mechanisms that IL-37 uses as a natural anti-inflammatory, building on years of lab work that has spotlighted this as a target for a variety of conditions.

Associate Professor Marcel Nold and Claudia Nold from The Ritchie Centre at the MIMR-PHI Institute of Medical Research and Monash University say that their work highlighted how IL-37 uses specific receptors on target cells to trigger a cascade of events that produces an anti-inflammatory effect. And they say their work, published online on Mar. 2 in Nature Immunology, can be used as a road map to develop new therapeutics that can ratchet inflammation down--or up if needed. The range of potential ailments this could apply to includes stroke, heart attack and autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease or lupus.

Investigators have been pursuing this pathway for several years, with a team at UC San Diego reporting on IL-37's potential in a 2011 mouse study for colitis.

"IL-37 is extremely potent and effective in controlling inflammation, but to make it medically useful we needed to know how it works and what it does to cells," Claudia Nold said in a statement. "Now we have deciphered these mechanisms we can pursue the medical potential of IL-37. This can be done by mimicking its effects when there is too much inflammation, or by blocking it when there is too little, like in cancer."

"It's important to note that this research is very early stage, but if we build on our discoveries and develop them further, it will be possible to deliver substantial and meaningful benefits to patients suffering from lots of diseases, be they acute or chronic, in a newborn baby or a centenarian," added Marcel Nold.

- here's the release
- get the research abstract