Low-dose interleukin-2 shows promise in treating autoimmune rheumatic diseases
Treatment with low-dose interleukin-2 (LD-IL-2) was associated with a significant increase in the number of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and Th17 cells, promoting immune system balance in the treatment of autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs), according to a study.
In specific autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), LD-IL-2 showed positive effects on Treg numbers and disease activity scores.
The comprehensive meta-analysis, incorporating data from 31 trials, found that patients with ARDs experienced a significant increase in the number of Th17 cells and Tregs (regulatory T cells) following LD-IL-2 treatment when compared to pre-treatment levels. The Th17/Tregs ratio, a key indicator, exhibited a noteworthy decrease, suggesting a positive impact on immune system balance.
In specific autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus , LD-IL-2 injection led to a significant increase in Treg numbers. Notably, disease activity scores, including Disease Activity Score-28 joints, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index, and Cutaneous Dermatomyositis Disease Area and Severity Index, showed significant reductions.
The meta-analysis indicated a favorable safety profile for LD-IL-2, with no serious adverse events reported across the included studies. Moreover, 54.8% of patients with lupus nephritis achieved distinct clinical remission following LD-IL-2 treatment.
Common side effects included injection site reactions (33.1%) and fever (14.4%), highlighting the generally well-tolerated nature of LD-IL-2.
Su Q, Wang X, Li Y, et al. Efficacy, Safety and the Lymphocyte Subset Changes of Low-Dose IL-2 in Patients with Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Rheumatol Ther. 2023;doi: 10.1007/s40744-023-00620-7. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37980696.