IL-Y, a synthetic member of the IL-12 cytokine family, suppresses the development of type 1 diabetes in NOD mice

Rafael R. Flores, Eun Kim, Liqiao Zhou, Chenjie Yang, Jing Zhao, Andrea Gambotto, Paul D. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The IL-12 family of heterodimeric cytokines, consisting of IL-12, IL-23, IL-27, and IL-35, has important roles in regulating the immune response. IL-12 family members are comprised of a heterodimer consisting of α and β chains: IL-12 (p40 and p35), IL-23 (p40 and p19), IL-27 (Ebi3 and p28), and IL-35 (Ebi3 and p35). Given the combinatorial nature of the IL-12 family, we generated adenoviral vectors expressing two putative IL-12 family members not yet found naturally, termed IL-X (Ebi3 and p19) and IL-Y (p40 and p28), as single-chain molecules. Single chain IL-Y (scIL-Y), but not scIL-X, was able to stimulate significantly a unique cytokine/chemokine expression profile as well as activate STAT3 in mice, in part, through a pathway involving IL-27Rα in splenocytes. Adenoviral-mediated, intratumoral delivery of scIL-Y increased tumor growth in contrast to the anti-tumor effects of scIL-12 and scIL-23. Similarly, treatment of prediabetic NOD mice by intravenous injection of Ad.scIL-Y prevented the onset of hyperglycemia. Analysis of cells from Ad.scIL-Y-treated NOD mice demonstrated that scIL-Y reduced expression of inflammatory mediators such as IFN-γ. Our data demonstrate that a novel, synthetic member of the IL-12 family, termed IL-Y, confers unique immunosuppressive effects in two different disease models and thus could have therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3114-3125
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


  • Adenovirus
  • Interleukin-12
  • NOD mice
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Type 1 diabetes


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