Interleukin 7 and T cell receptor signals regulate homeostasis of CD4 memory cells

Nat Immunol. 2003 Jul;4(7):680-6. doi: 10.1038/ni946. Epub 2003 Jun 15.


Immunological memory depends on the long-term maintenance of memory T cells. Although the factors that maintain CD8 T cell memory are well understood, those responsible for CD4 memory are not well defined. We have shown here that interleukin 7 (IL-7) was an important survival factor for CD4 memory T cells that together with T cell receptor (TCR) signals regulated homeostasis of the CD4 memory population in lymphopenic conditions and in the intact immune system. Thus, IL-7 contributes to the maintenance of all naive and memory T cell subsets, and therefore controls the overall size of the T cell pool.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / analysis
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Interleukin-7 / physiology*
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck) / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / physiology


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Interleukin-7
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7
  • RAG-1 protein
  • Fyn protein, mouse
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck)
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn