Interleukin-2 receptor alpha chain regulates the size and content of the peripheral lymphoid compartment

Immunity. 1995 Oct;3(4):521-30. doi: 10.1016/1074-7613(95)90180-9.


Interleukin-2 receptor alpha chain (IL-2R alpha) expression occurs at specific stages of early T and B lymphocyte development and is induced upon activation of mature lymphocytes. Young mice that lack IL-2R alpha have phenotypically normal development of T and B cells. However, as adults, these mice develop massive enlargement of peripheral lymphoid organs associated with polyclonal T and B cell expansion, which, for T cells, is correlated with impaired activation-induced cell death in vivo. Older IL-2R alpha-deficient mice also develop autoimmune disorders, including hemolytic anemia and inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, IL-2R alpha is essential for regulation of both the size and content of the peripheral lymphoid compartment, probably by influencing the balance between clonal expansion and cell death following lymphocyte activation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Lymphoid Tissue / embryology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / deficiency
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Interleukin-2