Expression of IL-15 and IL-15 receptor isoforms in select structures of human fetal brain

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Jun;966:441-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2002.tb04245.x.


IL-15, a key cytokine linking innate and acquired immunity, is expressed in many cell types and tissues. Recent data indicate constitutive expression of IL-15 in human neural cell lines and tissues. The aim of the present study was to examine the expression patterns of mRNA encoding IL-15 and IL-15 receptor alpha (IL-15Ralpha) isoforms in select structures of human fetal brain. We report that mRNA for IL-15 and IL-15Ralpha isoforms were expressed in all tested brain structures: cerebral cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, and thalamus. However, the levels of IL-15 and IL-15Ralpha mRNA were higher in the hippocampus and cerebellum in comparison with cortex and thalamus. Moreover, higher levels of cytosol in comparison with membrane-bound IL-15 isoform were present in all brain structures. The constitutive, but distinct, expression of IL-15 and its receptors in select human fetal brain structures suggests that IL-15 plays a role in their development and physiology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / embryology
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / genetics
  • Fetal Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Fetal Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gestational Age
  • Hippocampus / embryology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-15 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-15 / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / biosynthesis*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • Thalamus / embryology
  • Thalamus / metabolism


  • Fetal Proteins
  • IL15RA protein, human
  • Interleukin-15
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2