IL-37, a new anti-inflammatory alarmin

Lead researcher

Dr. Ina Rudloff and Mr. Steven Cho

Main finding

Interleukin (IL)-37 is one of the rare anti-inflammatory cytokines and its potency at inhibiting inflammation was discovered in 2010. Despite considerable progress in elucidating the functions of IL-37 in the last few years, and although it is known that leukocytes are a major source of IL-37, knowledge on IL-37 production and secretion in specific immune cell types remained limited. We discovered that monocytes and dendritic cells secrete IL-37 upon inflammatory stimulation. Moreover, we found that whereas monocytes store IL-37 in the absence of inflammation, dendritic cells can secrete the cytokine even under baseline conditions, likely to maintain an anti-inflammatory milieu at steady-state.


The Ritchie Centre

Research group

Interventional Immunology in Neonatal Diseases and Beyond


Mr. Jason Lao, Dr. Devi Ngo, Dr. Matthew McKenzie, Dr. Claudia Nold, A/Prof. Marcel Nold

Journal and article title

Most surprising

Not only were we able to identify the leukocyte subtypes able to produce and secrete IL-37, we also found that monocytes in particular can release IL-37 as early as three hours after inflammatory stimulation. Thus, we identified IL-37 as a novel alarmin - a molecule that rapidly gets released upon sensing of "danger signals" - that can effectively combat excessive inflammation.

Future implications

These insights may prove important to advancing the protective functions of one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory mediators so far discovered towards clinical use.

Disease/health impact

inflammatory diseases