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Int J Infect Dis. 2010 May;14(5):e366-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2009.06.022. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Role of interleukin-12 family cytokines in the cellular response to mycobacterial disease.

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Departamento de Inmunología, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, IPN, Prol. Carpio y Plan de Ayala, México, DF 11340 Mexico.


Interleukin (IL)-12 is a multifunctional cytokine acting as a key regulator of cell-mediated immune responses through the differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells into type 1 helper T cells (Th1) producing interferon-gamma. As our knowledge of IL-12 family members is rapidly growing, it will be important to specify their involvement in the regulation of mycobacterial infection. This article is a review of the current knowledge regarding the functions of the IL-12 family cytokines in the immune host defense system against mycobacteria. Specifically, this review aims to describe recent scientific evidence concerning the protective role of some members of the IL-12 family cytokines for the control of mycobacterial infection, as well as to summarize knowledge of the potential use of the IL-12 family members as potent adjuvants in the prevention and treatment of mycobacterial infectious diseases. In addition, recent data supporting the importance of the IL-12 family members in mycobacterial diseases in relation to Th17 function are discussed. This examination will help to improve our understanding of the immune response to mycobacterial infection and also improve vaccine design and immunotherapeutic intervention against tuberculosis.

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