cytokine, lymphocytes, proliferation
Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is an essential lymphocyte growth factor required for the survival and proliferation of mature T-cells. As a therapeutic agent, IL-7 has the potential to restore T-cell numbers following immune depletion and to promote immunity against cancers. While the survival function of IL-7 is well established, less is known about how it supports T-cell expansion, a critical feature of the immune response. To study the biological effects of IL-7 on T-cell growth, we developed an in vitro culture technique to expand T-cells ex vivo. A significant finding from our studies is that IL-7 did not induce the expansion of all T-cells, indicating that there are inherent differences in the response of individual T-cell subsets to IL-7. Culture with high doses of IL-7 (>150 ng/ml) preferentially expanded CD8 T-cells, but lead to the dramatic loss of CD4 T-cells which favored growth in lower dosages of IL-7 (>10 ng/ml). This effect was due to the regulation of LCK, a kinase predominantly associated with the CD4 co-receptor. We found that transgenic expression of the CD4 co-receptor onto CD8 T-cells promoted their growth in lower concentrations of IL-7. Conversely, inhibition of LCK activity in CD4 T-cells restored their responsiveness to high doses of IL-7 as indicated by the activation of the transcription factor STAT5, in a manner similar to CD8 T-cells. Interestingly, not all CD8 T-cells expanded in high doses of IL-7 and this effect was specific to CD8 T-cells that expressed an activated memory phenotype. We found that IL-7 promoted the proliferation of CD8 T-cells through Cdc25A, a phosphatase required for cell cycle progression. Expression of a constitutively active Cdc25A could maintain T-cell survival and proliferation in the absence of IL-7, demonstrating that Cdc25A is a crucial transducer of IL-7 growth signals. Inhibition of Cdc25A was sufficient to decrease proliferation and down-regulate the expression of activation/ memory markers on CD8 T-cells in the presence of IL-7. Upon further study, we identified a novel role for IL-7 through Cdc25A in the regulation of CD62L, an adhesion molecule required for lymph node entry. Culture with high doses of IL-7 down-regulated the expression of CD62L, suggesting that high doses of IL-7 could affect the ability of T-cells to enter or re-enter the lymph nodes. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that IL-7 administration at the supraphysiological doses currently used in the clinical trials could have a negative impact on the growth of CD4 T-cells and the homing of CD8 T-cells to the lymph nodes, effects which can impede the generation of an effective immune response.
If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Medicine
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Kittipatarin, Christina, "Interleukin-7 Differentially Regulates The Activation, Proliferation, And Homing Of T-cells: Implications For Immunotherapy" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4330.