Spontaneous release of interleukin-2 by lung T lymphocytes in active pulmonary sarcoidosis

N Engl J Med. 1983 Apr 7;308(14):793-800. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198304073081401.

Abstract

We investigated the possible role of interleukin-2, a T-cell product that stimulates the clonal increase of responsive T lymphocytes, in the pathogenesis of pulmonary sarcoidosis. We obtained mononuclear effector cells from the lungs of 10 patients with sarcoidosis and high-intensity alveolitis, 17 patients with sarcoidosis and low-intensity alveolitis, 3 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and 10 normal controls. Lung cells from the group with sarcoidosis and low-intensity alveolitis, from the group with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and from the controls produced insignificant amounts of interleukin-2. However, lung cells from 9 of 10 patients with sarcoidosis and high-intensity alveolitis spontaneously released interleukin-2, and in a proportion that correlated with the proportion of T cells in the lung washings (P less than 0.01). Blood T cells from the same patients did not release interleukin-2. To determine whether release of interleukin-2 by the lung T cells had a biologic effect in vivo, we measured T-lymphocyte replication in the lungs of patients and controls. The lung T lymphocytes replicated at a rate that was several times higher in the patients with sarcoidosis and high-intensity alveolitis than in the other patient groups or the controls (P less than 0.01). These observations suggest that the release of interleukin-2 by lung T cells has a central role in increasing the numbers of lung T cells in active pulmonary sarcoidosis.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lung Diseases / immunology*
  • Sarcoidosis / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*

Substances

  • Interleukin-2