Interleukin-12. Biologic activity, therapeutic utility, and role in disease

Lab Invest. 1995 Jun;72(6):619-37.


IL-12 is a heterodimeric cytokine that promotes cell-mediated immunity through its regulatory effects on T and NK cells. In some murine infectious disease models, IL-12 was shown to be produced endogenously in response to infection, and the exogenous administration of IL-12 to mice with either infectious diseases or tumors has resulted in significant therapeutic effects. IL-12 was protective early in the disease process, as well as against established disease. However, the biologic activities of IL-12 that are beneficial in the host response to these infectious diseases and malignancies can also be deleterious in certain disease states. Thus, IL-12 has considerable potential for the treatment of a variety of human disorders if used under the appropriate conditions. Likewise, antagonists of IL-12 may have a role in controlling diseases with pathologies that are mediated through immune mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology
  • Interleukin-12 / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-12 / physiology*
  • Interleukin-12 / therapeutic use*
  • Molecular Biology
  • Receptors, Interleukin / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Interleukin-12