The key role of IL-7 in lymphopoiesis

Semin Immunol. 2012 Jun;24(3):159-64. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Mar 14.


In mice, interleukin 7, although initially thought to be predominantly a cytokine acting on B cells, appears to have potent survival and growth activity during both B and T lymphopoiesis. Although acting on both lineages at the very immature stages, T cell differentiation becomes independent of IL-7 at the intermediate stages before regaining dependence on IL-7 for survival and proliferation at the mature T cell stage. In contrast, although essential for B lymphopoiesis, mature B cell survival is independent of IL-7. In this review, we focus on and discuss the similarities and differences between the role of IL-7 in these two processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-7 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-7 / metabolism
  • Lymphopoiesis*
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Interleukin-7