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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interleukin-21 is a growth and survival factor for human myeloma cells.

Interleukin-21 ( IL-21) is a recently cloned cytokine with homology to IL-2, IL-4, and IL-15. In this study we examined the effects of IL-21 on human myeloma cells. We found that IL-21 induced proliferation and inhibited apoptosis of the IL-6-dependent human myeloma cell lines ANBL-6, IH-1, and OH-2. The potency of IL-21 was close to that of IL-6 in the OH-2 cell line. Neutralizing antibodies to IL-6 or the IL-6 receptor transducer chain (gp130) did not affect IL-21-induced DNA synthesis, indicating that IL-21-induced proliferation was not mediated through these proteins. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), another stimulator of myeloma cell growth, up-regulated the expression level of IL-21 receptor (IL-21R), and combinations of TNF and IL-21 gave synergistic effects on myeloma cell proliferation. Furthermore, 4 of 9 purified samples of primary myeloma cells showed a significant increase in DNA synthesis on stimulation of the cells by IL-21. By Western blot analysis, we demonstrated that the intracellular signaling pathways of IL-21 in myeloma cells involved phosphorylation of Jak1, Stat3, and Erk1/2 ( p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase). IL-21 is a novel growth and survival factor in multiple myeloma and may represent a target for future therapy.[1]


  1. Interleukin-21 is a growth and survival factor for human myeloma cells. Brenne, A.T., Ro, T.B., Waage, A., Sundan, A., Borset, M., Hjorth-Hansen, H. Blood (2002) [Pubmed]
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