IL-21 and autoimmune disease--hypothesis and reality?

Eur J Immunol. 2008 Jul;38(7):1800-2. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838529.


Previous data have indicated that IL-21 and/or IL-21R are crucial for the differentiation of naïve T cells into Th17 cells and also play a key role in the development of autoimmune disease. Given this, IL-21 and/or IL-21R are potential targets for therapy of such diseases; however, a study in this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, provides a new twist in the story as it is now shown that IL-21 and/or IL-21R play no role in Th17 development or autoimmune inflammatory disease. The reasons for these contradictory data are discussed in this Commentary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-21 / immunology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-21 / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • Receptors, Interleukin-21
  • interleukin-21