Am J Clin Exp Immunol 2012;1(2):136-146

Review Article
Anti-cytokine autoantibodies in autoimmune diseases

Giuseppe Cappellano, Elisabetta Orilieri, Abiy D Woldetsadik, Elena Boggio, Maria F Soluri, Cristoforo Comi, Daniele
Sblattero, Annalisa Chiocchetti, Umberto Dianzani

Interdisciplinary Research Center of Autoimmune Diseases (IRCAD), Department of Health Sciences, Department
of Translational Medicine, “A. Avogadro” University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy

Received October 5, 2012; Accepted October 30, 2012; Epub November 15, 2012; Published November 30, 2012

Abstract: An overview of the current literature is showing that autoantibodies (AutoAbs) against cytokines are produced
in several pathological conditions, including autoimmune diseases, but can also be detected in healthy individuals. In
autoimmune diseases, these AutoAbs may also be prognostic markers, either negative (such as AutoAbs to IL-8 and IL-
1α in rheumatoid arthritis) or positive (such as AutoAbs to IL-6 in systemic sclerosis and those to osteopontin in
rheumatoid arthritis). They may have neutralizing activity and influence the course of the physiological and pathological
immune responses. High levels of AutoAbs against cytokines may even lead to immunodeficiency, such as those to IL-
17 in autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type I or those to IFN-γ in mycobacterial infections. Their role in human
therapy may be exploited not only through passive immunization but also through vaccination, which may improve the
costs for long lasting treatments of autoimmune diseases. Detection and quantification of these AutoAbs can be
profoundly influenced by the technique used and standardization of these methods is needed to increase the value of
their analysis. (AJCEI1210001).

Keywords: Cytokines, autoimmune diseases, autoantibodies, vaccines

Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Umberto Dianzani,
Interdisciplinary Research Center of Autoimmune
Diseases (IRCAD) and Department of Health
Sciences, “A. Avogadro” University of Eastern
Piedmont, via Solaroli 17, I-28100 Novara, Italy.
Phone: +390321660644; Fax: +390321620421;
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