Interleukin-12: A pivotal regulator of cell-mediated immunity

  • Maurice K. Gately
  • Michael J. Brunda
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 80)


Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is heterodimeric cytokine which is produced by antigen-presenting cells and serves as a pivotal regulator of T- and NK-cell function. IL-12 was identified independently by investigators at the Wistar Institute [1] and at Hoffmann-La Roche [2], who originally called it natural killer cell stimulatory factor (NKSF) [1] or cytotoxic lymphocyte maturation factor (CLMF) [2], respectively. Cloning of the cDNAs encoding the proteins mediating these 2 activities showed that NKSF and CLMF were the same molecule [3,4], which is now generally referred to as IL-12. The biologic activities initially associated with IL-12 include its ability to enhance the lytic activity of natural killer/lymphokine-activated killer (NK/LAK) cells [1,2], to induce the secretion of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) by both resting and activated T and NK cells [1,5], to stimulate the proliferation of activated T and NK cells [2,6], and to facilitate cytolytic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses [7,8]. All of these activities are shared by IL-12 with other interleukins such as IL-2. However, IL-12 has more recently been found to play a critical and unique role in promoting TH1-type cytokine responses [9,10], thereby facilitating cell-mediated immunity. The immunoenhancing effects of IL-12 on T and NK cell function provide the basis for its therapeutic effects in a number of mouse tumor models and models of infectious diseases.


Natural Killer Activity Soluble Leishmania Antigen Renca Tumor Staphylococcus Aureus Cowan Natural Killer Cell Stimulatory Factor 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurice K. Gately
  • Michael J. Brunda

There are no affiliations available

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