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The role of interleukin (IL)-11, a cytokine with potent anti-inflammatory properties, in murine
Lyme disease was investigated. Borrelia burgdorferi-infected mice treated with IL-11 developed less arthritis than did control animals. In contrast, IL-11 blocking antibodies increased
Lyme arthritis. Murine
Lyme carditis was not affected by either IL-11 or IL-11 antibodies. Administration of IL-11 was associated with increased production of mRNA for IL-12 and inducible nitric oxide synthase but not interferon-gamma or IL-4 in B. burgdorferi-infected mice, suggesting a predominant effect of IL-11 on the innate immune response. These data show that IL-11 selectively reduced joint but not cardiac inflammation caused by B. burgdorferi in mice.