Interleukin-21: a multifunctional regulator of immunity to infections

Microbes Infect. 2010 Dec;12(14-15):1111-9. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2010.08.008. Epub 2010 Sep 9.


Interleukin-21 (IL-21) is a cytokine that has broad effects on both innate and adaptive immune responses. The roles of IL-21 in determining immunity to infections are currently being defined, and notably, it has been shown that IL-21 is most critical for sustaining T cell responses during chronic viral infections. This article discusses our current understanding of the immunobiology of IL-21, as well as its known and potential roles in influencing immunity to infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*


  • Interleukins
  • interleukin-21