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Interleukins

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Updated May 30, 2008

Definition:

A broad term used to described natural chemicals (cytokines) produced by white blood cells for cell-to-cell communication.

Interleukins, like other cytokines, are often involved in stimulating or suppressing the immune system and inflammation (as is the case with their role in psoriasis). Another example of a cytokine important in psoriasis is TNF-alpha.

Interleukins are typically referred to by number, for example: IL-1, IL-2, etc. Recent studies have shown that IL-12 and IL-23 are very important in the development of psoriasis. The two are closely related and share a significant portion of their design; in fact, recent biologic drugs for psoriasis treatment have been developed to block IL-12/IL-23 simultaneously.

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