Fatal leukemia in interleukin-15 transgenic mice

Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2001 Jan-Feb;27(1):223-30. doi: 10.1006/bcmd.2001.0379.


The role of inflammation in the early genesis of certain malignancies has recently been appreciated. Interleukin (IL)-15, a proinflammatory cytokine and growth factor, is required for lymphocyte homeostasis. Intriguingly, the expression of IL-15 protein is tightly controlled by multiple posttranscriptional mechanisms, suggesting that inappropriate expression of IL-15 may be detrimental to the host. We recently engineered a transgenic mouse in which the normal posttranscriptional control of IL-15 is eliminated, thereby overexpressing the murine IL-15 protein. IL-15 transgenic mice have early expansions in NK and CD8+ T lymphocytes and later develop fatal lymphocytic leukemia with a T-NK phenotype. This article recapitulates the phenotype of these IL-15 transgenic mice and discusses the utility of this model as a tool to further our understanding of leukemogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-15 / adverse effects*
  • Interleukin-15 / genetics
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / etiology*
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / mortality
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • Interleukin-15