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    Interleukins Banner

    The Interleukin Family


    Interleukins (ILs) are a type of signaling molecules (cytokines) that play a crucial role in cell communication within the immune system. They are produced by various cells, especially immune cells like white blood cells (leukocytes). Interleukins regulate the growth, differentiation, and behaviour of immune cells by binding to specific receptors on target cells.

    There are different types of interleukins, and each type serves specific functions in regulating the immune response. For example, some interleukins promote inflammation to help the body fight infections, while others regulate the immune response to prevent excessive inflammation and maintain immune balance.

    Interleukins are categorised into distinct protein families according to their structural similarities, such as IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, and IL-17 families.

    • The interleukin family has become a crucial focus for drug development, with numerous medications targeting these molecules. Several of these drugs are already available in the market and hold a substantial portion of the pharmaceutical market for treating related diseases.

    IL-1 Family

    The interleukin-1 (IL-1) family consists of cytokines that play crucial roles in regulating inflammatory and immune responses. Members of the IL-1 family include IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), IL-18, IL-33, IL-36α, IL-36β, IL-36γ, and IL-37.

    IL-2 Family

    The interleukin-2 (IL-2) family primarily consists of cytokines that play significant roles in regulating immune responses, particularly in the activation and proliferation of immune cells.

    Apart from IL-2, other members of the IL-2 family include IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, IL-15 and IL-21. Each of these cytokines has distinct roles in regulating different aspects of the immune system. For example, IL-4 is involved in B cell activation and antibody production, while IL-15 plays a role in the survival and activation of NK cells and memory T cells.

    IL-6 Family

    The interleukin-6 (IL-6) is involved in stimulating immune responses, promoting the production of acute-phase proteins during inflammation, and contributing to the regulation of various cellular processes. This cytokine plays a critical role in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions.

    Members of the IL-6 family include IL-6 itself along with IL-11, IL-27, IL-31, oncostatin M (OSM), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1), cardiotrophin-like cytokine (CLC) and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF).

    IL-10 Family

    The interleukin-10 (IL-10) family comprises cytokines that play crucial roles in regulating immune responses and maintaining immune homeostasis by controlling inflammation.

    Members of the IL-10 family include IL-10 itself along with IL-19, IL-20, IL-22, IL-24 and IL-26. These cytokines are involved in modulating immune cell functions, tissue repair, and inflammation in various physiological and pathological conditions.

    IL-12 Family

    The interleukin-12 (IL-12) family consists of cytokines that are particularly crucial in shaping the adaptive immune system's function and response to infections.

    Members of the IL-12 family include IL-12 itself, along with IL-23 and IL-27. These cytokines are involved in directing and enhancing immune responses against pathogens, especially intracellular infections.

    IL-17 Family

    The interleukin-17 (IL-17) family comprises cytokines that play a significant role in defense against infections and in autoimmune conditions. IL-17A is the most studied member of this family.

    Members of the IL-17 family include IL-17A, IL-17B, IL-17C, IL-17D, IL-17E (also known as IL-25), and IL-17F. These cytokines are involved in promoting inflammation, recruiting immune cells to sites of infection or tissue damage, and enhancing barrier functions.