Author(s): Liao W, Lin JX, Leonard WJ
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Abstract Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a pleiotropic cytokine produced after antigen activation that plays pivotal roles in the immune response. Discovered as a T cell growth factor, IL-2 additionally promotes CD8(+) T cell and natural killer cell cytolytic activity and modulates T cell differentiation programs in response to antigen, promoting naïve CD4(+) T cell differentiation into T helper 1 (Th1) and T helper 2 (Th2) cells while inhibiting T helper 17 (Th17) and T follicular helper (Tfh) cell differentiation. Moreover, IL-2 is essential for the development and maintenance of T regulatory cells and for activation-induced cell death, thereby mediating tolerance and limiting inappropriate immune reactions. In this review, we focus on the molecular mechanisms and complex cellular actions of IL-2, its cooperative and opposing effects with other cytokines, and how both promoting and blocking the actions of IL-2 are being utilized in clinical medicine. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Immunity
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology