Interleukins are important messenger molecules in the immune system and many of them are associated with SLE.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and causes damage. Interleukins are an important part of the immune system and many of them are associated with SLE – but what, exactly, are interleukins?
What are Interleukins?
Interleukins are named for “Inter-” which means “to go between or among” and “Leukins” which are a family of heat-stable leukocytes, the name for the colorless blood cells that are involved in the immune system. In short, interleukins are “go-betweens,” allowing different parts of the immune system to communicate with each other and coordinate the body’s response to threats. You can read more about the immune system here.
Interleukins primarily are involved with turning on and tuning inflammation up and down, where the body sends immune particles to the affected area to stop infections and clean up the debris. The body has several specific responses to diseases that it employs based on what it is facing, including lymphocytes that attack and ‘eat’ pathogens or a fever that heats up and potentially kills pathogens. You can read more about pathogens here.