Direct effects of interleukin-7 on the function of human T cells in vitro

Eur Cytokine Netw. 2016 Nov 1;27(4):102-107. doi: 10.1684/ecn.2016.0385.


СD3+ T lymphocytes were isolated by positive magnetic separation from the peripheral blood of healthy donors. In the absence of any additional activating stimuli, interleukin-7 (IL-7) was shown to augment the levels of T cells expressing CD25 activation marker both in СD4-positive and in CD4-negative effector memory (CD45RA-CD197-) T cell subsets, as well as in terminally differentiated (CD45RA+CD197-) Т cells, without significantly affecting the activation status of naive (CD45RA+CD197+) and central memory (CD45RA-CD197+) T cells. In addition, IL-7 noticeably enhanced the production of IL-2, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and IL-10, but not IL-4, in T cells. The direct effects of IL-7 on T cell activation induced in vitro by MACSiBead™ particles coated with CD2, CD3, and CD28 antibodies (Abs) were also investigated. Upon cell activation, IL-7 significantly augmented the levels of CD25+ T cells in naive (CD45RA+CD197+), central memory (CD45RA-CD197+), and effector memory (CD45RA-CD197-) T-cell compartments. In addition, IL-7 facilitated activation of СD4- (but not CD4+) terminally differentiated effector (CD45RA+CD197-) Т cells. Finally, IL-7 was found to upregulate the production of IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-10 by activated T cells. In conclusion, we speculate that IL-7 is capable of enhancing functional T cell activity without causing significant functional inbalance between various T cell subsets.

Keywords: CD25; T cell; T-cell activation; cytokine production; homeostatic activity; interleukin-7.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / drug effects*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Interleukin-7 / immunology
  • Interleukin-7 / pharmacology*
  • Male


  • IFNG protein, human
  • IL10 protein, human
  • IL2 protein, human
  • IL4 protein, human
  • IL7 protein, human
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-7
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma