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Immunity. 2019 Apr 16;50(4):796-811. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2019.03.022.

GM-CSF, IL-3, and IL-5 Family of Cytokines: Regulators of Inflammation.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:
Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Immunology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:


The β common chain cytokines GM-CSF, IL-3, and IL-5 regulate varied inflammatory responses that promote the rapid clearance of pathogens but also contribute to pathology in chronic inflammation. Therapeutic interventions manipulating these cytokines are approved for use in some cancers as well as allergic and autoimmune disease, and others show promising early clinical activity. These approaches are based on our understanding of the inflammatory roles of these cytokines; however, GM-CSF also participates in the resolution of inflammation, and IL-3 and IL-5 may also have such properties. Here, we review the functions of the β common cytokines in health and disease. We discuss preclinical and clinical data, highlighting the potential inherent in targeting these cytokine pathways, the limitations, and the important gaps in understanding of the basic biology of this cytokine family.


GM-CSF; IL-3; IL-5; allergic disease; beta common cytokines; eosinophils; hematopoiesis; tumor immunology

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