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.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.