Nature Reviews Immunology 7, 429-442 (June 2007) | doi:10.1038/nri2094

Focus on: Cytokines & cytokine therapies

Cytokines in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis

Iain B. McInnes1 & Georg Schett2  About the authors


Cytokines regulate a broad range of inflammatory processes that are implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. In rheumatoid joints, it is well known that an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine activities favours the induction of autoimmunity, chronic inflammation and thereby joint damage. However, it remains less clear how cytokines are organized within a hierarchical regulatory network, and therefore which cytokines may be the best targets for clinical intervention a priori. Here, we discuss the crucial effector function of cytokines in the immunological processes that are central to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Author affiliations

  1. Centre for Rheumatic Diseases, Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre, University of Glasgow, 120 University Place, Glasgow G12 8TA, UK.
  2. Department of Internal Medicine 3, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Krankenhausstrasse 12, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.

Correspondence to: Iain B. McInnes1 Email:


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