New IL-12-family members: IL-23 and IL-27, cytokines with divergent functions

Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Jul;5(7):521-31. doi: 10.1038/nri1648.


Understanding the factors that influence T helper 1 (T(H)1)- and T(H)2-cell responses has been one of the main focuses of immunology for almost 20 years. Whereas the central role of interleukin-12 (IL-12) in the generation of T(H)1 cells has long been appreciated, subsequent studies indicated that IL-23 and IL-27, two cytokines that are closely related to IL-12, also regulate T(H)1-cell responses. However, as discussed in this article, it is now recognized that the ability of IL-23 to stimulate a unique T-cell subset to produce IL-17 has a dominant role in autoimmune inflammation. By contrast, IL-27 has a role in limiting the intensity and duration of adaptive immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Interleukin-12 / classification
  • Interleukin-12 / genetics
  • Interleukin-23
  • Interleukin-23 Subunit p19
  • Interleukins / classification
  • Interleukins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • IL23A protein, human
  • Il23a protein, mouse
  • Il27 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-23
  • Interleukin-23 Subunit p19
  • Interleukins
  • Interleukin-12