Interleukin-21 (IL-21) is a member of the common gamma-chain family of cytokines (includes IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, IL-13, and IL-15) and is expressed by activated CD4+ T cells. IL-21 has a private receptor known as IL-21R, which is expressed on T, B, and NK cells. Within the B cell lineage, IL-21 regulates IgG1 production and cooperates with IL-4 for the production of multiple Ab classes in vivo. Initial studies have demonstrated that IL-21 has pleiotropic effects on the proliferation, differentiation, and effector functions of B, T, natural killer, and dendritic cells.
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