The Role of interleukin-2 During Homeostasis and Activation of the Immune System

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Feb 17;12(3):180-90. doi: 10.1038/nri3156.

Abstract

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) signals influence various lymphocyte subsets during differentiation, immune responses and homeostasis. As discussed in this Review, stimulation with IL-2 is crucial for the maintenance of regulatory T (T(Reg)) cells and for the differentiation of CD4(+) T cells into defined effector T cell subsets following antigen-mediated activation. For CD8(+) T cells, IL-2 signals optimize both effector T cell generation and differentiation into memory cells. IL-2 is presented in soluble form or bound to dendritic cells and the extracellular matrix. Use of IL-2 - either alone or in complex with particular neutralizing IL-2-specific antibodies - can amplify CD8(+) T cell responses or induce the expansion of the T(Reg) cell population, thus favouring either immune stimulation or suppression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology

Substances

  • Interleukin-2