Cytokines play critical roles in regulating all aspects of immune responses, including lymphoid development, homeostasis, differentiation, tolerance and memory. Interleukin (IL)-12 is especially important because its expression during infection regulates innate responses and determines the type and duration of adaptive immune response. IL-12 induces interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production by NK, T cells, dendritic cells (DC), and macrophages. IL-12 also promotes the differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells into T helper 1 (Th1) cells that produce IFN-gamma and aid in cell-mediated immunity. As IL-12 is induced by microbial products and regulates the development of adaptive immune cells, IL-12 plays a central role in coordinating innate and adaptive immunity. IL-12 and the recently identified cytokines, IL-23 and IL-27, define a family of related cytokines that induce IFN-gamma production and promote T cell expansion and proliferation.