The serum factor from patients with ulcerative colitis that induces T cell proliferation in the mouse thymus is interleukin-7

J Clin Immunol. 1997 Jul;17(4):282-92. doi: 10.1023/a:1027322631036.


The disturbance of immune regulatory T cells is related to the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis. Here we demonstrated and characterized the serum factor from ulcerative colitis patients that induced proliferation of intrathymic T cells. The factor isolated from the patient sera by a combination of gel filtration and anion-exchange chromatography induced proliferation of CD4+CD8- intrathymic T cells in the organ-cultured embryonic mouse thymus. Purification and amino acid sequence analysis of the serum factor demonstrated that the N-terminal 12 sequence was homologous to that of interleukin-7. SDS-PAGE and Western blot confirmed that purified serum factor was interleukin-7. Enzyme immunoassay demonstrated that the serum interleukin-7 concentration was significantly increased in the patients. PCR and Southern blot hybridization demonstrated that interleukin-7 mRNA expression was increased in the thymus tissues from patients but decreased in the colonic mucosa. Since interleukin-7 is a crucial cytokine for proliferation and differentiation of T cells in the thymus, the present study indicates that interleukin-7 may contribute to the disturbance of immune regulatory T cells in ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / blood*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / immunology
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-7 / blood*
  • Interleukin-7 / isolation & purification
  • Interleukin-7 / physiology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation* / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism


  • Interleukin-7
  • RNA, Messenger