A large number of cytokines are active in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is now clear that these cytokines play a fundamental role in the processes that cause inflammation, articular destruction, and the comorbidities associated with RA. Following the success of TNF-α blockade as a treatment for RA, other cytokines now offer alternative targets for therapeutic intervention or might be useful as predictive biomarkers of disease. In this Review, we discuss the biologic contribution and therapeutic potential of the major cytokine families to RA pathology, focusing on molecules contained within the TNF-α, IL-1, IL-6, IL-23, and IL-2 families.
Fionula M. Brennan, Iain B. McInnes