Interleukin-21: a new modulator of immunity, infection, and cancer

Katja Brandt, Prim B Singh, Silvia Bulfone-Paus, René Rückert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Interleukin-21 is the most recently discovered member of the type-I cytokine family. Structurally, IL-21 shows homology to IL-2, IL-4, and IL-15 proteins. IL-21 shares the common gamma-chain with the other three cytokines but, in addition, binds to a unique IL-21Ralpha chain, and activates the JAK/STAT pathway. IL-21 is mainly produced by activated T-cells but targets a broad range of lymphoid and myeloid cells of the immune system and therefore is able to regulate innate and acquired immune responses. This review intends to give the reader an overview of the recent findings concerning the biology of IL-21 and its physiological role in immunity, infection, and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-32
Number of pages10
JournalCytokine and Growth Factor Reviews
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - May 19 2007


  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Infection
  • Interleukins
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neoplasms
  • Receptors, Interleukin-21
  • Signal Transduction
  • Journal Article
  • Review

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