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Details of Interleukin 6 (IL-6)
What is Interleukin 6 (IL-6)?
Also Known As: IL-6
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a protein produced by various cells. It helps regulate immune responses, which makes the IL-6 test potentially useful as a marker of immune system activation. IL-6 can be elevated with inflammation, infection, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers. The test measures the amount of IL-6 in the blood.
Interleukin-6 is one of a large group of molecules called cytokines. Cytokines have multiple roles to play within the body and act especially within the immune system to help direct the body’s immune response. They are a part of the “inflammatory cascade” that involves the coordinated, sequential activation of immune response pathways.
IL-6 acts on a variety of cells and tissues. It promotes the differentiation of B-cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies), promotes cell growth in some cells, and inhibits growth in others. It stimulates the production of acute-phase proteins. IL-6 also plays a role in body temperature regulation, bone maintenance, and brain function. It is primarily pro-inflammatory but can also have anti-inflammatory effects.
How is the test used?
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) may be used to help evaluate a person who has a condition associated with inflammation, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, or with infection, such as sepsis. It may also be used in the evaluation of diabetes, stroke, or cardiovascular disease.