Increased production of IL-7 accompanies HIV-1-mediated T-cell depletion: implications for T-cell homeostasis

Nat Med. 2001 Jan;7(1):73-9. doi: 10.1038/83381.


We hypothesized that HIV-1-mediated T-cell loss might induce the production of factors that are capable of stimulating lymphocyte development and expansion. Here we perform cross-sectional (n = 168) and longitudinal (n = 11) analyses showing that increased circulating levels of interleukin (IL)-7 are strongly associated with CD4+ T lymphopenia in HIV-1 disease. Using immunohistochemistry with quantitative image analysis, we demonstrate that IL-7 is produced by dendritic-like cells within peripheral lymphoid tissues and that IL-7 production by these cells is greatly increased in lymphocyte-depleted tissues. We propose that IL-7 production increases as part of a homeostatic response to T-cell depletion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • HIV Infections / pathology
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-7 / biosynthesis*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lymphocyte Depletion*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism
  • Lymphoid Tissue / virology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*


  • Interleukin-7