IL-7: maintaining T-cell memory and achieving homeostasis

Trends Immunol. 2005 Mar;26(3):172-6. doi: 10.1016/


During an immune response, peripheral T-cell populations expand and then contract as the response subsides, thus maintaining a fairly constant number of CD4 and CD8 T cells throughout the life of the individual. The important factors that control this homeostasis are now beginning to be understood. Interleukin-7 (IL-7) has emerged as a central regulator of the survival and homeostasis of CD4 and CD8 T cells. Both naive and memory T-cell populations are highly dependent on the presence of IL-7 for their persistence and survival. In this Review, we discuss the role of IL-7 in the survival and homeostasis of naive and memory T cells and how that role is regulated by other factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Homeostasis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / physiology*
  • Interleukin-7 / immunology
  • Interleukin-7 / physiology*
  • Models, Biological


  • Interleukin-7