Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Hum Immunol. 2011 Feb;72(2):115-23. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2010.10.015. Epub 2010 Oct 25.

Interleukin-21 and cellular activation concurrently induce potent cytotoxic function and promote antiviral activity in human CD8 T cells.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.


Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 induces a progressive deterioration of the immune system that ultimately leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Murine models indicate that the common γ-chain (γ(c))-sharing cytokine interleukin (IL)-21 and its receptor (IL-21R) play a crucial role in maintaining polyfunctional T cell responses during chronic viral infections. Therefore, we analyzed the ability of this cytokine to modulate the properties of human CD8 T cells in comparison with other γ(c)-sharing cytokines (IL-2, IL-7, and IL-15). CD8 T cells from healthy volunteers were stimulated in vitro via T cell receptor signals to mimic the heightened status of immune activation of HIV-infected patients. The administration of IL-21 upregulated cytotoxic effector function and the expression of the costimulatory molecule CD28. Notably, this outcome was not accompanied by increased cellular proliferation or activation. Moreover, IL-21 promoted antiviral activity while not inducing HIV-1 replication in vitro. Thus, IL-21 may be a favorable molecule for immunotherapy and a suitable vaccine adjuvant in HIV-infected individuals.

Copyright © 2011 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk