IL-17 is a potent proinflammatory cytokine produced by activated memory T cells. The large-scale sequencing of the human and other vertebrate genomes has revealed the presence of additional genes encoding proteins clearly related to IL-17, thus defining a new family of cytokines. There are at least six members of the IL-17 family in humans and in mice. Initial characterization suggests that like IL-17, several of these newly identified molecules have the ability to modulate immune function. Neither the IL-17 family nor the cognate receptors that have been identified for these molecules bear obvious sequence similarity to other known families of proteins. Thus, they represent a distinct signaling system that appears to have been highly conserved across vertebrate evolution. The potent inflammatory actions that have been identified for several of these factors and the emerging associations with major human diseases suggest that these proteins may have significant roles in inflammatory processes.