Novel function for interleukin-7 in dendritic cell development

Blood. 2009 Apr 23;113(17):3961-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-08-176321. Epub 2009 Feb 25.


Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is crucial for the development of T and B lymphocytes from common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs) and for the maintenance of mature T lymphocytes. Its in vivo role for dendritic cells (DCs) has been poorly defined. Here, we investigated whether IL-7 is important for the development or maintenance of different DC types. Bone marrow-derived DCs expressed the IL-7 receptor (IL-7R) and survived significantly longer in the presence of IL-7. Migratory DCs (migDCs) isolated from lymph nodes also expressed IL-7R. Surprisingly, IL-7R was not required for their maintenance but indirectly for their development. Conventional DCs (cDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) resident in lymph nodes and spleen were IL-7R(-). Using mixed bone marrow chimeras, we observed an intrinsic requirement for IL-7R signals in their development. As the number of CLPs but not myeloid progenitors was reduced in the absence of IL-7 signals, we propose that a large fraction of cDCs and pDCs derives from CLPs and shares not only the lymphoid origin but also the IL-7 requirement with lymphocyte precursors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Interleukin-7 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-7 / genetics
  • Interleukin-7 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-7 / metabolism*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / cytology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / deficiency
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Interleukin-7
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7