Purpose of reviewTo provide an overview behind the concept and recent advances of low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Recent findingsA disruption of regulatory T cell homeostasis caused by an acquired deficiency of IL-2 is a crucial event in the pathogenesis of SLE. Here, we highlight the key rationales for the clinical translation of low-dose IL-2 therapy in SLE and summarize the main findings from two independent, early phase uncontrolled clinical studies that investigated the immunological and clinical responses to low-dose IL-2 therapy in patients with active SLE. Important commonalities and differences between these studies with regard to study design and results are discussed.SummaryLow-dose IL-2 therapy is capable to promote the selective expansion of a functionally competent regulatory T cell population in a well-tolerated way and may have the potential to influence the clinical course in patients with active SLE. Although a clearer proof for the clinical efficacy of low-dose IL-2 therapy in SLE is still outstanding, these early studies provide important rationales and the scientific basis for more comprehensive and placebo-controlled trials in the future.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)