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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy