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Biology of recently discovered cytokines: Discerning the pro- and anti-inflammatory properties of interleukin-27

Alejandro V Villarino and Christopher A Hunter*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Arthritis Res Ther 2004, 6:225-233  doi:10.1186/ar1227

Published: 16 August 2004


IL-27 is a recently identified heterodimeric cytokine produced in response to microbial and host derived inflammatory cues. Initial studies indicated that IL-27 promotes the generation of Th1 responses required for resistance to intracellular infection and unveiled the molecular mechanisms mediating this effect. However, subsequent work uncovered a role for IL-27 in the suppression of Th1 and Th2 responses. Thus, by discussing its pleotropic functions in the context of infection-induced immunity and by drawing parallels to fellow IL-6/IL-12 family cytokines, this review will attempt to reconcile the pro- and anti-inflammatory effects of IL-27.

IL-27; WSX-1; Th1; Th2; infection