Interleukin-27: balancing protective and pathological immunity

Immunity. 2012 Dec 14;37(6):960-9. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.11.003.


It has been more than 15 years since the identification of individual interleukin-27 (IL-27) and IL-27 receptor components. The last decade has seen the description of the signaling pathways engaged by IL-27, and an appreciation has emerged that this cytokine can modulate the intensity and duration of many classes of T cell responses. Here we provide an overview of the immunobiology of IL-27 and review advances in understanding the functions of individual IL-27 and IL-27 receptor subunits and the role of IL-27 in dictating the balance between protective and pathological immunity. Additionally, this cytokine has been proposed as a therapy to modify inflammatory conditions or to promote antitumor responses, and situations where experimental and clinical data sets implicate IL-27 in the outcome of disease are highlighted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • B7-H1 Antigen / immunology
  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism


  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Interleukin-17
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Interleukin-10