IL-12 and IFN-gamma in host defense against mycobacteria and salmonella in mice and men

Curr Opin Immunol. 1999 Jun;11(3):346-51. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(99)80055-7.


The development of gene-knockout mice and the identification of gene-deficient humans have improved our understanding of the role of IL-12 and IFN-gamma in host defense. Comparison of experimental and natural infections has shown that animals and humans genetically deficient in immunity mediated by IL-12 or IFN-gamma are highly susceptible to mycobacteria and salmonella. Impaired secretion of, or response to, IFN-gamma is the common pathogenic mechanism that accounts for impaired granuloma formation and uncontrolled growth of bacteria within macrophages. The axis formed between IL-12 and IFN-gamma is essential for protective immunity against mycobacteria and salmonella in mice and men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / deficiency
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Interleukin-12 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-12 / genetics
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mycobacterium / immunology*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / genetics
  • Mycobacterium Infections / immunology
  • Salmonella Infections / genetics
  • Salmonella Infections / immunology
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / genetics
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / immunology


  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-gamma