Recent evidence has implicated interleukin-7 (IL-7) as a master regulator of T-cell homeostasis, based upon its essential role in the homeostatic expansion of naive T-cell populations in response to low-affinity antigens (Ags) and its capacity to enhance dramatically the expansion of peripheral T-cell populations in response to high-affinity Ags. Furthermore, T-cell-depleted humans have a unique inverse relationship between the peripheral CD4+ T-cell count and the level of circulating IL-7. Together, these data suggest that increased amounts of IL-7 become available following T-cell depletion, thus, enhancing the high- and low-affinity Ag-driven expansion of the population of residual, mature T cells and boosting thymic regenerative capacity, as a means to restore T-cell homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy