Potential role for IL-7 in Fas-mediated T cell apoptosis during HIV infection

Caroline Fluur, Angelo De Milito, Terry J. Fry, Nancy Vivar, Liv Eidsmo, Ann Atlas, Cristina Federici, Paola Matarrese, Mariantonia Logozzi, Eva Rajnavölgyi, Crystal L. Mackall, Stefeno Fais, Francesca Chiodi, Bence Rethi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


IL-7 promotes survival of resting T lymphocytes and induces T cell proliferation in lymphopenic conditions. As elevated IL-7 levels occur in HIV-infected individuals in addition to high Fas expression on T cells and increased sensitivity to Fas-induced apoptosis, we analyzed whether IL-7 has a regulatory role in Fas-mediated T cell apoptosis. We show that IL-7 up-regulates Fas expression on naive and memory T cells through a mechanism that involves translocation of Fas molecules from intracellular compartments to the cell membrane. IL-7 induced the association of Fas with the cytoskeletal component ezrin and a polarized Fas expression on the cell surface. The potential role of IL-7 in Fas up-regulation in vivo was verified in IL-7-treated macaques and in HIV-infected or chemotherapy treated patients by the correlation between serum IL-7 levels and Fas expression on T cells. IL-7 treatment primed T cells for Fas-induced apoptosis in vitro and serum IL-7 levels correlated with the sensitivity of T cells to Fas-induced apoptosis in HIV-infected individuals. Our data suggest an important role for IL-7 in Fas-mediated regulation of T cell homeostasis. Elevated IL-7 levels associated with lymphopenic conditions, including HIV-infection, might participate in the increased sensitivity of T cells for activation-induced apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5340-5350
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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