Recombinant human interleukin 11 (IL-11) with glucocorticoids is a safe and effective treatment for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) in adults, results from a clinical trial published in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine have shown.

Glucocorticoids are typically used to treat ITP, an autoimmune disease in which low platelet levels result in easy or excessive bruising and bleeding. Although the pathogenic mechanism of the disease is not yet fully understood, previous studies have found that CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells and IL-11 lead to platelet count recovery and function.

The authors of the recent study set out to investigate the safety and effectiveness of recombinant human interleukin II with glucocorticoids in 80 ITP patients. The study was randomly divided into two groups with 40 participants each. The control group received standard glucocorticoid treatment. The observation group received IL-11 and glucocorticoids.

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Statistically significant differences were observed between the observation and control groups (P <.05). In the observation group, onset time was reduced, platelet recovery level increased, and platelet antibody positive rate decreased. The observation group had an overall statistically significant higher effective rate than the control group with a shorter treatment course and a lower reccurrence rate. No significant differences in the incidence of complications were observed between the 2 groups. The percent of CD4+CD25+ cells decreased in both groups, but was more prominent in the observation group.

The authors conclude that “IL-11 with glucocorticoids for treatment of adult ITP was safe and effective and may have been related to lowered percentage of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells. There is still lack of evidence on long-term curative effect of this therapy, and further observation is required.”


1. Wu X, Wang L, Sun L, Li T, Ran X. Analysis of clinical effects and mechanism of recombinant human interleukin-11 with glucocorticoids for treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura [published online December 21, 2016]. Exp Ther Med. doi: 10.3892/etm.2016.3989