External influences on the immune system via activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor

Semin Immunol. 2011 Apr;23(2):99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2011.01.008. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), subject of intensive research over three decades by the pharmacology/toxicology field has recently made its entry into mainstream immunology research and is set to continue to intrigue with ever more complex modes of modulating immune responses. The discovery of high and selective AhR expression on Th17 cells and its role in induction of the cytokine IL-22 attributed new immunological functions to this transcription factor and stimulated further research into physiological functions of the AhR in the immune system. A number of recent reviews have highlighted potential new avenues of research. This review addresses recent new insight into physiological roles of AhR in the immune system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune System*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Ligands
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / genetics
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / immunology*


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon