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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2003 Oct;14(5):361-8.

The biology of IL-12: coordinating innate and adaptive immune responses.

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Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, NIAMS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Cytokines play critical roles in regulating all aspects of immune responses, including lymphoid development, homeostasis, differentiation, tolerance and memory. Interleukin (IL)-12 is especially important because its expression during infection regulates innate responses and determines the type and duration of adaptive immune response. IL-12 induces interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production by NK, T cells, dendritic cells (DC), and macrophages. IL-12 also promotes the differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells into T helper 1 (Th1) cells that produce IFN-gamma and aid in cell-mediated immunity. As IL-12 is induced by microbial products and regulates the development of adaptive immune cells, IL-12 plays a central role in coordinating innate and adaptive immunity. IL-12 and the recently identified cytokines, IL-23 and IL-27, define a family of related cytokines that induce IFN-gamma production and promote T cell expansion and proliferation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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