IL-7 in human health and disease

Wangko Lundström, Natasha M. Fewkes, Crystal L. Mackall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


IL-7 plays many essential roles in human health and disease. Congenital deficiencies in IL-7 signaling result in profound immunodeficiency, polymorphisms in IL7Rα modulate susceptibility to autoimmune disease, and acquired somatic activating mutations in IL7Rα contribute to neoplastic transformation in B cell and T cell leukemia. In response to lymphopenia, IL-7 accumulates to supranormal levels, which alters T cell homeostasis by augmenting T cell reactivity toward self and cognate antigens. This physiologic response is now routinely exploited to improve the efficacy of adoptive cell therapies for cancer. Clinical trials of recombinant IL-7 have demonstrated safety and potent immunorestorative effects, and current studies are investigating whether rhIL-7 therapy can improve outcomes in chronic viral infection and in the context of cancer immunotherapies. Building upon the large fund of knowledge regarding the basic biology of IL-7, this review will discuss the many and varied roles of IL-7 in human health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-224
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoimmunity
  • Cancer
  • Interleukin-7
  • Interleukin-7 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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