IL21 belongs to the IL-15/IL-21 family. It is a cytokine with immunoregulatory activity. Cytokines are proteinaceous signaling compounds that are major mediators of the immune response. They control many different cellular functions including proliferation, differentiation and cell survival/apoptosis but are also involved in several pathophysiological processes including viral infections and autoimmune diseases. Cytokines are synthesized under various stimuli by a variety of cells of both the innate (monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells) and adaptive (T- and B-cells) immune systems. IL21 is expressed in activated CD4-positive T-cells but not in CD8-positive T-cells, B-cells, or monocytes. It may promote the transition between innate and adaptive immunity. IL-21 has been tried as therapy for alleviating allergic responses. It can significantly decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by T cells in addition to decreasing IgE levels in a mouse model for rhinitis (nasal passage inflammation)
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