Cutting edge: direct action of thymic stromal lymphopoietin on activated human CD4+ T cells

J Immunol. 2007 Jun 1;178(11):6720-4. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.178.11.6720.


Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a cytokine that promotes CD4(+) T cell homeostasis and contributes to allergic and inflammatory responses. TSLP can act directly on mouse CD4(+) T cells, but in humans, the available data have indicated that TSLP receptors are not expressed on CD4(+) T cells and that TSLP instead activates dendritic cells, which in turn promote the proliferation and differentiation of CD4(+) T cells. We now unexpectedly demonstrate the presence of TSLP receptors on activated human CD4(+) T cells. Strikingly, whereas freshly isolated peripheral blood human T cells show little if any response to TSLP, TCR stimulation allows a potent response to this cytokine. Moreover, TSLP increases the sensitivity of human CD4(+) T cells to low doses of IL-2, augmenting responsiveness of these cells to TCR engagement. Our results establish that human CD4(+) T cells are direct targets for TSLP.

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / immunology
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor
  • Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin