Interleukin-22: a novel T- and NK-cell derived cytokine that regulates the biology of tissue cells

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2006 Oct;17(5):367-80. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2006.09.001. Epub 2006 Oct 9.


Interleukin (IL)-22, discovered in 2000, is a member of the IL-10 family of cytokines. The major sources of IL-22 are activated T1- and NK-cells. IL-22 acts via a heterodimeric receptor complex consisting of IL-22R1 and IL-10R2. Neither resting nor activated immune cells express IL-22R1 or respond to IL-22. In contrast, tissue cells at outer body barriers, i.e. of the skin, kidney, and the digestive and respiratory systems are targets of this cytokine. IL-22 functions by promoting the anti-microbial defense, protecting against damage, and re-organizing non-immune tissues. Furthermore, IL-22 induces acute phase reactants. These findings indicate that IL-22 represents a novel type of immune mediator that, although produced by immune cells, regulates tissue protection and homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit / physiology
  • Interleukins / chemistry
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Interleukins / physiology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / physiology
  • Receptors, Interleukin / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology


  • IL22RA2 protein, human
  • Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit
  • Interleukins
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • interleukin-22