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Nat Immunol. 2003 Jul;4(7):680-6. Epub 2003 Jun 15.

Interleukin 7 and T cell receptor signals regulate homeostasis of CD4 memory cells.

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Division of Molecular Immunology, National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.


Immunological memory depends on the long-term maintenance of memory T cells. Although the factors that maintain CD8 T cell memory are well understood, those responsible for CD4 memory are not well defined. We have shown here that interleukin 7 (IL-7) was an important survival factor for CD4 memory T cells that together with T cell receptor (TCR) signals regulated homeostasis of the CD4 memory population in lymphopenic conditions and in the intact immune system. Thus, IL-7 contributes to the maintenance of all naive and memory T cell subsets, and therefore controls the overall size of the T cell pool.

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