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J Immunol. 2007 Jun 1;178(11):6720-4.

Cutting edge: direct action of thymic stromal lymphopoietin on activated human CD4+ T cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a cytokine that promotes CD4(+) T cell homeostasis and contributes to allergic and inflammatory responses. TSLP can act directly on mouse CD4(+) T cells, but in humans, the available data have indicated that TSLP receptors are not expressed on CD4(+) T cells and that TSLP instead activates dendritic cells, which in turn promote the proliferation and differentiation of CD4(+) T cells. We now unexpectedly demonstrate the presence of TSLP receptors on activated human CD4(+) T cells. Strikingly, whereas freshly isolated peripheral blood human T cells show little if any response to TSLP, TCR stimulation allows a potent response to this cytokine. Moreover, TSLP increases the sensitivity of human CD4(+) T cells to low doses of IL-2, augmenting responsiveness of these cells to TCR engagement. Our results establish that human CD4(+) T cells are direct targets for TSLP.

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