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Interleukin-6 as a therapeutic target for atherosclerosis

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Liza Ljungberg

Research subject

IL-6 is a multifunctional cytokine that plays a central role in inflammation by controlling differentiation, proliferation, migration and apoptosis of targeted cells. Overexpression of IL-6 has been implicated in the pathology of a number of inflammatory diseases including multiple myeloma, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis etc.

Traditionally, atherosclerosis has been viewed as simple deposition of lipids within the vessel wall, however, it is now evident that inflammation plays a central role during all stages of the atherosclerotic process. Previous studies have shown that IL-6 may play a role in the pathology of atherosclerosis, indicating that IL-6 might serve as a therapeutic target for atherosclerosis.

Using molecules targeting IL-6 we investigate how blocking of IL-6 affects the inflammatory process in vascular cells, in vitro models of atherosclerosis as well as biopsies from human atherosclerotic plaques.

Given the increasing incidence of cardiovascular disease novel therapies preventing development of atherosclerosis are urgently needed. Drugs developed to target inflammation during atherosclerosis is a promising strategy to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.

Research funding bodies

  • The Knowledge Foundation