Interleukin-37 (IL-37) was discovered as a new member of pro-inflammatory IL-1 superfamily.
However, further studies suggested that IL-37 plays a critical anti-inflammatory role in innate
and adaptive immunity. IL-37 may suppress the inflammatory process via intracellular SMAD family
member 3 (SMAD3) and extracellular IL-18 Receptor alpha (IL-18Rα) signaling pathway, respectively.
Meanwhile, the abnormal expression of IL-37 was observed in immune-mediated inflammatory
diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus,
asthma, and multiple sclerosis, which suggest IL-37 is a potential therapeutic target for
these diseases. In this review, we summarize the anti-inflammatory mechanism of IL-37 and discuss
the critical roles of IL-37 in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Further studies are required to confirm
the effectiveness of IL-37 as a novel target for these inflammatory diseases.