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Cellular targets of interleukin-18 in rheumatoid arthritis

Abstract

Recent data are presented which indicate a critical role for interleukin (IL)-18 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The T cells and macrophages invading the synovium or in the synovial fluid are the chief cellular targets of IL-18 in RA. Neutrophils, dendritic cells and endothelial cells may also be cellular mediators of IL-18. The direct effect of IL-18 on fibroblast-like synoviocytes or chondrocytes may not be essential or important. In RA, IL-18, which is mainly produced by macrophages, activates T cells and macrophages to produce proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules and RANKL which, in turn, perpetuate chronic inflammation and induce bone and cartilage destruction.

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