2007 issue 4


Volume 16, issue 4

Review article

Interleukin-6 - its functions and the effect on mood disorders and other disease processes

Anna Ryś1, Anna Miodek1, Paweł Szemraj1, Janusz Szemraj2, Józef Kocur3
1. Specjalistyczny Psychiatryczny Zespół Opieki Zdrowotnej - Szpitala im. J. Babińskiego w Łodzi
2. Katedra Biochemii Medycznej, Zakładu Biochemii Medycznej Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi
3. Zakład Psychopatologii i Psychologii Klinicznej Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego, Zakładu Rehabilitacji Psychospołecznej Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2007; 16 (4): 331-334
Keywords: interleukin-6, mood disorders, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis


Objectives. To present the main functions of interleukin-6 (IL-6) - its role in the immunological response, inflammatory reaction, mood disturbances, and other disease processes.

Review. The advancement in psychoimmunology and psychoendocrinology in the late 20th century fostered a new understanding of IL-6 as one of the key cytokines regulating defense mechanisms. Numerous studies evidenced the important role of IL-6 in the pathophysiology of many disease processes and mood disorders.

Conclusions. Since IL-6 is involved in activation of the mechanisms that control the inflammatory reaction and immunological response, it constitutes an important link in their development. The IL-6 enhances the synthesis of specific antibodies by B lymphocytes, induces differentiation of cells towards cytotoxic lymphocytes, and suppresses proliferation of some neoplastic cells. An even hundredfold increment in the IL-6 level can be seen in inflammatory states and tumors. The IL-6 level is increased also in depressive disorders due to the enhanced activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. In consequence there is a rise in the concentration of glucocorticosteroids, leading to an exacerbation of symptoms typical of depressive disorders.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Anna Ryś
Specjalistyczny Psychiatryczny Zespół Opieki Zdrowotnej - Szpital im. J. Babińskiego
Oddział VIII B
ul. Aleksandrowska 159, 91-229 Łódź
e-mail: anaryt@yahoo.com