The interleukin-23/interleukin-17 immune axis as a promising new target in the treatment of spondyloarthritis

Nataliya Yeremenko, Jacqueline E. Paramarta, Dominique Baeten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Various novel therapies for spondyloarthritis (SpA) are currently under development. In this review, we discuss the scientific rational to target the interleukin (IL)-23/IL-17 axis in SpA and give an overview of the proof-of-concept trials with drugs directed towards this axis. Cumulative evidence from genetics (e.g. the strong genetic association with the IL-23 receptor gene), in-vitro models (e.g. the increased IL-23 production upon HLA-B27 misfolding), human expression studies (e.g. the expansion of IL-17 producing innate cells in SpA) and animal models (e.g. the increased IL-17 production in HLA-B27 transgenic rats) strongly supports the involvement of the IL-23/IL-17 axis in the pathogenesis of SpA. Ustekinumab (a monoclonal antibody directed against the common p40 subunit of IL-23 and IL-12), secukinumab, ixekizumab (both monoclonal antibodies directed against IL-17A), and brodalumab a monoclonal antibody against the IL-17RA receptor) have been recently used in proof-of-concept and randomized trials in the ankylosing spondylitis and/or psoriatic arthritis subforms of SpA, with overall very promising clinical efficacy. The first results for novel drugs blocking key cytokines in the IL-23/IL-17 axis are promising in SpA and more novel compounds are upcoming. This will teach us more on the role of the IL-23/IL-17 axis in the pathophysiology of SpA
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-370
JournalCurrent Opinion in Rheumatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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