Interleukin 24 (IL-24) is a new member of the IL-10 family of cytokines and it signals through two heterodimeric receptors: IL-20R1/IL-20R2 and IL-22R1/IL-20R2. Upon binding to its receptors, IL-24 induces rapid activation of Stat-1 and Stat-3 transcription factors, which appear to play a role in cell survival and proliferation. Under physiological conditions, the major sources of IL-24 are the activated monocytes and T helper 2 cells, whereas the major IL-24 target tissues, based on the receptor expression pattern, are non-haematopoietic in origin, and include skin, lung and reproductive tissues. Structurally and functionally, IL-24 is highly conserved across species. This review highlights our current knowledge of IL-24 as a cytokine, with much less emphasis placed on the non-receptor-mediated functions (a subject of several reviews) focused on in much of the earlier literature on IL-24. The potential roles of IL-24 as part of a complex cytokine network in wound healing, psoriasis and cancer are discussed.