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Eur J Immunol. 1997 Nov;27(11):2885-91.

Interleukin-15 preferentially promotes the growth of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes bearing gamma delta T cell receptor in mice.

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Laboratory of Host Defense and Germfree Life, Nagoya University School of Medicine, Japan.


Several cytokines including stem cell factor (SCF) and interleukin (IL)-7 are known to be required for development of gamma delta T cell receptor (TCR) intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (i-IEL) in mice. We show here the effects of IL-15 on the proliferation and maintenance of murine gamma delta i-IEL in vitro. gamma delta i-IEL constitutively expressed a high level of IL-15 receptor alpha mRNA and proliferated in response to IL-15 more vigorously than alpha beta i-IEL. V gamma/delta repertoire analysis revealed that IL-15, like IL-2, induced polyclonal expansion of gamma delta i-IEL, whereas gamma delta i-IEL responding to IL-7 showed a V gamma/delta repertoire skewed towards V gamma 1/V delta 4, V delta 5. IL-15 efficiently prevented gamma delta i-IEL from apoptosis induced by growth factor deprivation. This rescue was accompanied by up-regulation of Bcl-2 expression. These results suggest that IL-15 plays important roles in proliferation and maintenance of gamma delta i-IEL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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