The cytokine interleukin-22 (IL-22) is a critical regulator of epithelial homeostasis. It has been implicated in multiple aspects of epithelial barrier function, including regulation of epithelial cell growth and permeability, production of mucus and antimicrobial proteins (AMPs), and complement production. In this review, we focus specifically on the role of IL-22 in the intestinal epithelium. We summarize recent advances in our understanding of how IL-22 regulates homeostasis and host defense, and we discuss the IL-22 pathway as a therapeutic target in diseases of the intestine, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and cancer.

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