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From Science to Success? Targeting Tyrosine Kinase 2 in Spondyloarthritis and Related Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

  • Hromadová, Dominika1
  • Elewaut, Dirk2, 3
  • Inman, Robert D.4, 5
  • Strobl, Birgit1
  • Gracey, Eric2, 3
  • 1 Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna , (Austria)
  • 2 Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Unit, VIB Centre for Inflammation Research, Ghent University, Ghent , (Belgium)
  • 3 Department of Rheumatology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent , (Belgium)
  • 4 Schroeder Arthritis Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, ON , (Canada)
  • 5 Departments of Medicine and Immunology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON , (Canada)
Published Article
Frontiers in Genetics
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jul 05, 2021
DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2021.685280
  • Genetics
  • Review


Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is a family of inflammatory arthritic diseases, which includes the prototypes of psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. SpA is commonly associated with systemic inflammatory diseases, such as psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease. Immunological studies, murine models and the genetics of SpA all indicate a pathogenic role for the IL-23/IL-17 axis. Therapeutics targeting the IL-23/IL-17 pathway are successful at providing symptomatic relief, but may not provide complete protection against progression of arthritis. Thus there is still tremendous interest in the discovery of novel therapeutic targets for SpA. Tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) is a member of the Janus kinases, which mediate intracellular signaling of cytokines via signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) activation. TYK2 plays a crucial role in mediating IL-23 receptor signaling and STAT3 activation. A plethora of natural mutations in and around TYK2 have provided a wealth of data to associate this kinase with autoimmune/autoinflammatory diseases in humans. Induced and natural mutations in murine Tyk2 largely support human data; however, key inter-species differences exist, which means extrapolation of data from murine models to humans needs to be done with caution. Despite these reservations, novel selective TYK2 inhibitors are now proving successful in advanced clinical trials of inflammatory diseases. In this review, we will discuss TYK2 from basic biology to therapeutic targeting, with an emphasis on studies in SpA. Seminal studies uncovering the basic science of TYK2 have provided sound foundations for targeting it in SpA and related inflammatory diseases. TYK2 inhibitors may well be the next blockbuster therapeutic for SpA.

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