Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) is performed with curative intent for high- risk blood cancers and bone marrow failure syndromes; yet the development of acute and chronic graft-vs.host disease (GVHD) remain preeminent causes of death and morbidity. The IL-12 family of cytokines is comprised of IL-12, IL-23, IL-27, IL-35, and IL-39. This family of cytokines is biologically distinct in that they are composed of functional heterodimers, which bind to cognate heterodimeric receptor chains expressed on T cells. Of these, IL-12 and IL-23 share a common β cytokine subunit, p40, as well as a receptor chain: IL-12Rβ1. IL-12 and IL-23 have been documented as proinflammatory mediators of GVHD, responsible for T helper 1 (Th1) differentiation and T helper 17 (Th17) stabilization, respectively. The role of IL-27 is less defined, seemingly immune suppressive via IL-10 secretion by Type 1 regulatory (Tr1) cells yet promoting inflammation through impairing CD4+ T regulatory (Treg) development and/or enhancing Th1 differentiation. More recently, IL-35 was described as a potent anti-inflammatory agent produced by regulatory B and T cells. The role of the newest member, IL-39, has been implicated in proinflammatory B cell responses but has not been explored in the context of allo-HCT. This review is directed at discussing the current literature relevant to each IL-12-family cytokine and cognate receptor engagement, as well as the consequential downstream signaling implications, during GVHD pathogenesis. Additionally, we will provide an overview of translational strategies targeting the IL-12 family cytokines, their receptors, and subsequent signal transduction to control GVHD.
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- Cytokine receptor
- IL-12 cytokines
- IL-12 family cytokine receptors
- Signal transduction