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Nat Rev Immunol. 2011 May;11(5):330-42. doi: 10.1038/nri2970.

Harnessing the biology of IL-7 for therapeutic application.

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Immunology Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is required for T cell development and for maintaining and restoring homeostasis of mature T cells. IL-7 is a limiting resource under normal conditions, but it accumulates during lymphopaenia, leading to increased T cell proliferation. The administration of recombinant human IL-7 to normal or lymphopenic mice, non-human primates and humans results in widespread T cell proliferation, increased T cell numbers, modulation of peripheral T cell subsets and increased T cell receptor repertoire diversity. These effects raise the prospect that IL-7 could mediate therapeutic benefits in several clinical settings. This Review summarizes the biology of IL-7 and the results of its clinical use that are available so far to provide a perspective on the opportunities for clinical application of this cytokine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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