Potent and selective stimulation of memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells in vivo by IL-15

Immunity. 1998 May;8(5):591-9. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(00)80564-6.


Proliferation of memory-phenotype (CD44hi) CD8+ cells induced by infectious agents can be mimicked by injection of type I interferon (IFN I) and by IFN I-inducing agents such as lipopolysaccharide and Poly I:C; such proliferation does not affect naive T cells and appears to be TCR independent. Since IFN I inhibits proliferation in vitro, IFN I-induced proliferation of CD8+ cells in vivo presumably occurs indirectly through production of secondary cytokines, e.g., interleukin-2 (IL-2) or IL-15. We show here that, unlike IL-2, IL-15 closely mimics the effects of IFN I in causing strong and selective stimulation of memory-phenotype CD44hi CD8+ (but not CD4+) cells in vivo; similar specificity applies to purified T cells in vitro and correlates with much higher expression of IL-2Rbeta on CD8+ cells than on CD4+ cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / analysis*
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Interferon Type I / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-15 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-15 / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype
  • Poly I-C / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis


  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Interferon Type I
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-2
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Poly I-C