Interleukin-7: Master regulator of peripheral T-cell homeostasis?

Terry J. Fry, Crystal L. Mackall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-571
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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