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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2010 Aug;21(4):237-51. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

IL-28A, IL-28B, and IL-29: promising cytokines with type I interferon-like properties.

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Interdisciplinary Group of Molecular Immunopathology, Dermatology/Medical Immunology, University Hospital Charité, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany.


IL-28A, IL-28B and IL-29 (also designated type III interferons) constitute a new subfamily within the IL-10-interferon family. They are produced by virtually any nucleated cell type, particularly dendritic cells, following viral infection or activation with bacterial components, and mediate their effects via the IL-28R1/IL-10R2 receptor complex. Although IL-28/IL-29 are closer to the IL-10-related cytokines in terms of gene structure, protein structure, and receptor usage, they display type I interferon-like anti-viral and cytostatic activities. Unlike type I interferons, the target cell populations of IL-28/IL-29 are restricted and mainly include epithelial cells and hepatocytes. These properties suggest that IL-28/IL-29 are potential therapeutic alternatives to type I interferons in terms of viral infections and tumors. This review describes the current knowledge about these cytokines.

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