Interleukin-7 receptor expression: intelligent design

Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Feb;7(2):144-54. doi: 10.1038/nri2023.


Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is produced by stromal cells in lymphoid tissues and is required for the development of T cells and for their persistence in the periphery. Unlike many other cytokines that act on lymphocytes, IL-7 production by stromal cells is not substantially affected by extrinsic stimuli. So, the amount of available IL-7 protein is thought to be regulated by the rate that it is scavenged by T cells. As we review here, there is mounting evidence indicating that the amount of IL-7 receptor expressed on a cell not only determines how vigorously the cell responds to IL-7, but it can also determine how efficiently the cell consumes IL-7 and, therefore, affect the supply of this limiting resource in the niche.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-7 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-7 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-7 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / immunology*
  • Stromal Cells / immunology


  • Interleukin-7
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7
  • interleukin-7 receptor, alpha chain