Interleukin 15 is produced by endothelial cells and increases the transendothelial migration of T cells In vitro and in the SCID mouse-human rheumatoid arthritis model In vivo

J Clin Invest. 1998 Mar 15;101(6):1261-72. doi: 10.1172/JCI1986.


The capacity of endothelial cells (EC) to produce IL-15 and the capacity of IL-15 to influence transendothelial migration of T cells was examined. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells expressed both IL-15 mRNA and protein. Moreover, endothelial-derived IL-15 enhanced transendothelial migration of T cells as evidenced by the inhibition of this process by blocking monoclonal antibodies to IL-15. IL-15 enhanced transendothelial migration of T cells by activating the binding capacity of the integrin adhesion molecule LFA-1 (CD11a/CD18) and also increased T cell motility. In addition, IL-15 induced expression of the early activation molecule CD69. The importance of IL-15 in regulating migration of T cells in vivo was documented by its capacity to enhance accumulation of adoptively transferred human T cells in rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissue engrafted into immune deficient SCID mice. These results demonstrate that EC produce IL-15 and imply that endothelial IL-15 plays a critical role in stimulation of T cells to extravasate into inflammatory tissue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Blocking / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / immunology
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-15 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-15 / metabolism*
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Synovial Membrane / immunology
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism
  • Synovial Membrane / transplantation
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Tissue Transplantation
  • Umbilical Veins / cytology
  • Umbilical Veins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Blocking
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • CD69 antigen
  • Interleukin-15
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1