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A variety of cytokines play a role in the response to an inflammatory stimulus. The interleukin-6 (IL-6)-type cytokines are released in response to tissue injury or an inflammatory stimulus. They act locally and systemically to generate a variety of physiologic responses, principal among them is the acute phase response. The IL-6 type cytokines demonstrate pleiotropy and redundancy of actions. This is made possible by the distinctive characteristics of the IL-6 receptor complex, which contains an ubiquitous subunit that is shared by most IL-6-type cytokines, as well as a cytokine-specific subunit.