Interleukin-12 and tuberculosis: an old story revisited

Curr Opin Immunol. 2007 Aug;19(4):441-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2007.07.004. Epub 2007 Aug 16.


Our understanding of the role of interleukin (IL)-12 in controlling tuberculosis has expanded because of increased interest in other members of the IL-12 family of cytokines. Recent data show that IL-12, IL-23 and IL-27 have specific roles in the initiation, expansion and control of the cellular response to tuberculosis. Specifically, IL-12, and to a lesser degree IL-23, generates protective cellular responses and promotes survival, whereas IL-27 moderates the inflammatory response and is required for long-term survival. Paradoxically, IL-27 also limits bacterial control, suggesting that a balance between bacterial killing and tissue damage is required for survival. Understanding the balance between IL-12, IL-23 and IL-27 is crucial to the development of immune intervention in tuberculosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-23 / immunology
  • Interleukin-23 / metabolism*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology


  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-23
  • Interleukin-12