Interleukin-23 (IL-23) is a member of the IL-12 family of cytokines with pro-inflammatory properties. Its ability to potently enhance the expansion of T helper type 17 (Th17) cells indicates the responsibility for many of the inflammatory autoimmune responses. Emerging data demonstrate that IL-23 is a key participant in central regulation of the cellular mechanisms involved in inflammation. Both IL-23 and IL-17 form a new axis through Th17 cells, which has evolved in response to human diseases associated with immunoactivation and immunopathogeny, including bacterial or viral infections and chronic inflammation. Targeting of IL-23 or the IL-23 receptor or IL-23 axis is a potential therapeutic approach for autoimmune diseases including psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The current review focuses on the immunobiology of IL-23 and summarizes the most recent findings on the role of IL-23 in the pre-clinical and ongoing clinical studies.
© 2011 The Authors. Immunology © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.