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J Immunol. 2012 Oct 1;189(7):3339-46. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

IL-2 and IL-7 determine the homeostatic balance between the regulatory and conventional CD4+ T cell compartments during peripheral T cell reconstitution.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unité Mixte de Recherche 8104, Cochin Hospital, 75014 Paris, France.


Work over the last decades has led to the identification of the factors that influence the survival and homeostasis of conventional T cells. IL-7 and TCR signaling promote the survival of naive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in lymphoreplete mice and their proliferation in a lymphopenic environment, whereas survival and homeostatic proliferation of memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells crucially depend on a combination of IL-7 and IL-15. In contrast, there is little information regarding the factors driving the proliferation of regulatory CD4(+) T cells in response to lymphopenia. In this study, we investigated whether regulatory CD4(+) T cell proliferation in response to lymphopenia was guided by classical homeostatic resources, such as IL-2, IL-7, or TCR-MHC interactions. Altogether, our data suggest that, although homeostatic proliferation of conventional naive CD4(+) T cells is closely related to IL-7 levels, the proliferation of regulatory CD4(+) T cells in response to lymphopenia appears to be primarily controlled by IL-2. The capacity of IL-7 to augment conventional T cell proliferation with minimal concomitant regulatory T cell expansion may be clinically exploitable in the treatment of patients with lymphopenia, especially in the case of chronic viral diseases or cancer immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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