Interleukin-15 promotes angiogenesis in vivo

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1997 Apr 7;233(1):231-7. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1997.6435.


IL-15, a cytokine with biological functions on cells of lymphoid lineage similar to those of IL-2, mediates its activities through the beta and gamma chains of the IL-2/15R and its own alpha chain. Unlike IL-2, IL-15 also binds to endothelial cells with high affinity. We report here that IL-15 is a stimulator of angiogenesis in vivo. When injected subcutaneously into nude mice, IL-15 consistently induced neovascularization of Matrigel plugs. Endothelial cells were found to express the IL-15R alpha chain and the IL-2/15R beta and common gamma chains. IL-15 induced the rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins in endothelial cells, but did not stimulate endothelial cell proliferation in vitro. These findings document a previously unrecognized biological property of IL-15 and emphasize the role of IL-15 as an important mediator outside the immune system.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Female
  • Interleukin-15 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / metabolism


  • Il15ra protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2