Interleukin 17 (IL-17) is an essential proinflammatory T-cell derived cytokine with various biological actions. IL-17 was found to have a pivotal role in microbial host defense by interconnecting lymphoid and myeloid host defense. It also acts as a stimulatory hematopoietic cytokine by expanding myeloid progenitors and initiating proliferation of mature neutrophils. This article summarizes results to date on IL-17 research and discusses gene therapy based strategies that were employed to determine its biological functions and significance. A comprehensive working model for IL-17 is introduced. J. Cell. Biochem. Suppl. 38: 88–95, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.