Interleukin (IL)-12 family is a group of cytokines composed of heterogeneous molecules and whose members include IL-12, IL-23, IL-27, and IL-35. IL-12 family bridges natural and adaptive immune responses and especially plays a significant role in classical adaptive immune process participated by TH1, TH17, and Treg cells. Members of IL-12 family participate in adaptive immune responses via the Janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription signaling pathway by sharing some subunits and receptors. IL-12 features an extremely complex regulatory network. During resistance of microbial infection, IL-12 and IL-23 mainly show inflammatory effects, whereas IL-27 and IL-35 commonly show antiinflammatory effects. This study reviews advances in studies related to IL-12 family members and infectious diseases and provides references to further reveal functions of IL-12 family members in occurrence and development of infectious diseases.
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