Cardiovascular diabetology in the core of a novel interleukins classification: The bad, the good and the loof

Enrique Z. Fisman*, Michael Motro, Alexander Tenenbaum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The impressive correlation between cardiovascular disease and glucose metabolism alterations has raised the likelihood that atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes may share common antecedents. Inflammation is emerging as a conceivable etiologic mechanism for both. Interleukins are regulatory proteins with ability to accelerate or inhibit inflammatory processes. Presentation of the hypothesis: A novel interleukins classification is described, based on their role in diabetes and atherosclerosis, hypothesizing that each interleukin (IL) acts on both diseases in the same direction - regardless if harmful, favorable or neutral. Testing the hypothesis: The 29 known interleukins were clustered into three groups: noxious (the "bad", 8 members), comprising IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-15, IL-17 and IL-18; protective (the " good", 5 members), comprising IL-4, IL-10, IL-11, IL-12 and IL-13; and "aloof", comprising IL-5, IL-9, IL-14, IL-16 and IL-19 through IL-29 (15 members). Each group presented converging effects on both diseases. IL-3 was reluctant to clustering. Implications: These observations imply that 1) favorable effects of a given IL on either diabetes or atherosclerosis predicts similar effects on the other; 2) equally, harmful IL effects on one disease can be extrapolated to the other; and 3) absence of influence of a given IL on one of these diseases forecasts lack of effects on the other. These facts further support the unifying etiologic theory of both ailments, emphasizing the importance of a cardiovascular diabetologic approach to interleukins for future research. Pharmacologic targeting of these cytokines might provide an effective means to simultaneously control both atherosclerosis and diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
StatePublished - 12 Sep 2003


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cytokines
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Interleukins


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