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Interleukins are a group of cytokines (secreted signaling molecules) that were first seen to be expressed by white blood cells (leukocytes, hence the -leukin) as a means of communication (inter-). The name is something of a relic though (the term was coined by Dr. Paetkau, University of Victoria); it has since been found that interleukins are produced by a wide variety of bodily cells. The function of the immune system depends in a large part on interleukins, and rare deficiencies of a number of them have been described, all featuring autoimmune diseases or immune deficiency.

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A list of interleukins:

Name Source Function
IL-1 macrophages small amounts induce acute phase reaction, large amounts induce fever.
IL-2 TH1-cells stimulates growth and differentiation of T cell response. Can be used in immunotherapy to treat cancer or suppressed for transplant patients.
IL-3 T cells stimulates bone marrow stem cells
IL-4 TH2-cells, just activated naive CD4+ cell, memory CD4+ cells involved in proliferation of B cells and the development of T cells and mast cells. Important role in allergic response (IgE)
IL-5 TH2-cells role in differentiation of B cells, eosinophil production, and IgA production
IL-6 macrophages, TH2-cells induces acute phase reaction
IL-7 stromal cells of the red marrow and thymus involved in B, T, and NK cell survival, development, and homeostasis
IL-8 macrophages, epithelial cells, endothelial cells Neutrophil chemotaxis
IL-9 T-cells, specifically by CD4+ helper cells stimulates mast cells
IL-10 monocytes, TH2-cells, mast cells inhibits Th1 cytokine production
IL-11 bone marrow stroma acute phase protein production
IL-12 macrophages NK cell stimulation, Th1 cells induction. May suppress food allergies
IL-13 TH2-cells Stimulates growth and differentiation of B-Cells (IgE), inhibits TH1-cells and the production of macrophage inflammatory cytokines
IL-14 T cells and certain malignant B cells controls the growth and proliferation of B cells
IL-15 mononuclear phagocytes (and some other cells) following infection by virus(es). Induces production of Natural Killer Cells
IL-16 a variety of cells (including lymphocytes and some epithelial cells) chemoattracts immune cells expressing the cell surface molecule CD4
IL-17 - Induces production of inflammatory cytokines
IL-18 macrophages Induces production of Interferon-gamma (IFNγ)
IL-19 -
IL-20 - regulates proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes
IL-21 -
IL-22 - Activates STAT1 and STAT3 and increases production of acute phase proteins such as serum amyloid A, Alpha 1-antichymotrypsin and haptoglobin in hepatoma cell lines
IL-23 - Increases angiogenesis but reduces CD8 T-cell infiltration
IL-24 - Plays important roles in tumor suppression, wound healing and psoriasis by influencing cell survival.
IL-25 - Induces the production IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13, which stimulate eosinophil expansion
IL-26 - Enhances secretion of IL-10 and IL-8 and cell surface expression of CD54 on epithelial cells
IL-27 - Regulates the activity of B lymphocyte and T lymphocytes
IL-28 - Plays a role in immune defense against viruses
IL-29 - Plays a role in host defenses against microbes
IL-30 - Forms one chain of IL-27
IL-31 - May play a role in inflammation of the skin
IL-32 - Induces monocytes and macrophages to secrete TNF-α, IL-8 and CXCL2
IL-33 - Induces helper T cells to produce type 2 cytokines


  • HGNC Gene Family Nomenclature: Interleukin and Interleukin Receptor Gene Symbols
  • Interleukin Antibody Review

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Interleukin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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