Interleukins, From 1 to 37, and interferon-γ: Receptors, Functions, and Roles in Diseases

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Mar;127(3):701-21.e1-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.11.050.


Advancing our understanding of mechanisms of immune regulation in allergy, asthma, autoimmune diseases, tumor development, organ transplantation, and chronic infections could lead to effective and targeted therapies. Subsets of immune and inflammatory cells interact via ILs and IFNs; reciprocal regulation and counter balance among T(h) and regulatory T cells, as well as subsets of B cells, offer opportunities for immune interventions. Here, we review current knowledge about ILs 1 to 37 and IFN-γ. Our understanding of the effects of ILs has greatly increased since the discoveries of monocyte IL (called IL-1) and lymphocyte IL (called IL-2); more than 40 cytokines are now designated as ILs. Studies of transgenic or knockout mice with altered expression of these cytokines or their receptors and analyses of mutations and polymorphisms in human genes that encode these products have provided important information about IL and IFN functions. We discuss their signaling pathways, cellular sources, targets, roles in immune regulation and cellular networks, roles in allergy and asthma, and roles in defense against infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases* / etiology
  • Immune System Diseases* / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology*
  • Interleukins / classification
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Interferon / immunology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin / immunology*


  • Interleukins
  • Receptors, Interferon
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Interferon-gamma