Immune enhancement and anti-tumour activity of IL-23
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- Hao, J. & Shan, B. Cancer Immunol Immunother (2006) 55: 1426. doi:10.1007/s00262-006-0171-5
Immunotherapy, including the use of cytokines and/or modified tumour cells immune stimulatory cytokines, can enhance the host anti-tumour immune responses. Interleukin-23 (IL-23) is a relative novel cytokine, which consists of a heterodimer of the IL-12p40 subunit and a novel p19 subunit. IL-23 has biological activities similar to but distinct from IL-12. IL-23 can enhance the proliferation of memory T cells and the production of IFN-γ, IL-12 and TNF-α from activated T cells. IL-23 activates macrophages to produce TNF-α and nitric oxide. IL-23 can also act directly on dendritic cells and possesses potent anti-tumour and anti-metastatic activity in murine models of cancer. IL-23 can also induce a lower level of IFN-γ production compared with that induced by IL-12. This may make IL-23 an alternative and safer therapeutic agent for cancer, as IL-12 administration can lead to severe toxic side effects because of the extremely high levels of IFN-γ it induces.