Interleukin 18 (IL-18) as a target for immune intervention.
AbstractInterleukin 18 (IL-18) is a pleiotropic cytokine involved in the regulation of innate and acquired immune response. In the milieu of IL-12 or IL-15, IL-18 is a potent inducer of IFN-gamma in natural killer (NK) cells and CD4 T helper (Th) 1 lymphocytes. However, IL-18 also modulates Th2 and Th17 cell responses, as well as the activity of CD8 cytotoxic cells and neutrophils, in a host microenvironment-dependent manner. It is produced by various hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells, including dendritic cells and macrophages. In an organism, bioactivity of the cytokine depends on the intensity of IL-18 production, the level of its natural inhibitory protein - IL-18BP (IL-18 binding protein) and the surface expression of IL-18 receptors (IL-18R) on the responding cells. This review summarizes the biology of the IL-18/IL-18BP/IL-18R system and its role in the host defense against infections. The prospects for IL-18 application in immunotherapeutic or prophylactic interventions in infectious and non-infectious diseases are discussed.
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