IL-15: targeting CD8+ T cells for immunotherapy

Cytotherapy. 2005;7(1):23-35. doi: 10.1080/14653240510018037.


IL-15 is a pleiotropic cytokine that plays an important role in both the innate and adaptive immune system. IL-15 promotes the activation of neutrophils and macrophages, and is critical to DC function. In addition, IL-15 is essential to the development, homeostasis, function and survival of natural killer (NK) cells, NK T (NKT) cells and CD8+ T cells. Based on these properties, IL-15 has been proposed as a useful cytokine for immunotherapy. It is currently being investigated in settings of immune deficiency, for the in vitro expansion of T and NK cells, as well as an adjuvant for vaccines. In this paper, we will review the targeting of IL-15 for immunotherapy, with a particular emphasis on its effects on CD8+ T cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Immune System Diseases / immunology
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Immunotherapy / trends*
  • Interleukin-15 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-15 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-15 / therapeutic use
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Interleukin-15
  • Vaccines