Cytokines are key regulators of physiological inflammatory responses, while aberrant cytokine expression contributes to pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. We noted increased IL-6 levels in human and murine epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA), a prototypic organ-specific autoimmune bullous dermatoses (AIBD) induced by autoantibodies to type VII collagen (COL7). In contrast to rheumatoid arthritis, blockade of IL-6 led to strikingly enhanced experimental EBA, while treatment with recombinant IL-6 was protective. This was due to classical IL-6 signalling and independent of IL-6 trans-signalling, as treatment of mice with sgp130Fc had no impact on EBA manifestation. Induction of EBA in mice led to increased IL-1ra levels in skin and serum, while blockade of IL-6 completely inhibited IL-1ra expression induced by autoantibodies to COL7. In line, treatment of mice with EBA with recombinant IL-6 induced IL-1ra concentrations exceeding those of untreated animals with EBA, and IL-1ra (anakinra) administration significantly impaired experimental EBA induction. We here identified a novel anti-inflammatory pathway in an organ-specific autoimmune disease. Modulation of this IL-1ra pathway by classical IL-6 signalling demonstrates anti-inflammatory and protective activities of IL-6 in vivo.