Classical IL-6 signaling: a promising therapeutic target for pulmonary arterial hypertension

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Current therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) provide symptomatic relief and improve prognosis but fall short of improving long-term survival. There is emerging evidence for a role of inflammatory mediators, primarily IL-6, in the pathogenesis of PAH. However, the mechanisms by which IL-6 potentially affects PAH are unknown. In this issue of the JCI, Tamura, Phan, and colleagues identified ectopic upregulation of the membrane-bound IL-6 receptor (IL6R), indicating classical IL-6 signaling in the smooth muscle layer of remodeled vessels in human and experimental PAH. They performed a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments that provide deeper insights into the mechanisms of classical IL-6 signaling and propose interventions directed against IL6R as a potential therapeutic strategy for PAH.

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