Perspective on potential clinical applications of recombinant human interleukin-7

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Dec;1182:28-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05075.x.


Interleukin-7 has critical and nonredundant roles in T cell development, hematopoiesis, and postdevelopmental immune functions as a prototypic homeostatic cytokine. Based on a large body of preclinical evidence, it may have multiple therapeutic applications in immunodeficiency states, either physiologic (immuno-senescence), pathologic (HIV) or iatrogenic (postchemotherapy and posthematopoietic stem cell transplant) and may have roles in immune reconstitution or enhancement of immunotherapy. Early clinical development trials in humans show that, within a short time, rhIL-7 administration results in a marked preferential expansion of both naive and memory CD4 and CD8 T cell pools with a tendency toward enhanced CD8 expansion. As a result, lymphopenic or normal older hosts develop an expanded circulating T cell pool with a profile that resembles that seen earlier in life with increased T cell repertoire diversity. These results, along with a favorable toxicity profile, open a wide perspective of potential future clinical applications.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interleukin-7 / immunology
  • Interleukin-7 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-7 / therapeutic use*
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Interleukin-7
  • Recombinant Proteins