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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

IL-7 exacerbates chronic colitis with expansion of memory IL-7Rhigh CD4+ mucosal T cells in mice.

We have previously demonstrated that mucosal CD4(+) T cells expressing high levels of IL-7 receptor (IL-7R(high)) are pathogenic cells responsible for chronic colitis. Here we investigate whether IL-7 is directly involved in the expansion of IL-7R(high) memory CD4(+) mucosal T cells and the exacerbation of colitis. We first showed that CD4(+) lamina propria lymphocytes (LPLs) from wild-type, T cell receptor-alpha-deficient (TCR-alpha(-/-)), and recombinase-activating gene (RAG)-2(-/-)-transferred mice with or without colitis showed phenotypes of memory cells, but only CD4(+) LPLs from colitic mice showed IL-7R(high). In vitro stimulation by IL-7, but not by IL-15 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin, enhanced significant proliferative responses and survival of colitic CD4(+), but not normal CD4(+) LPLs. Importantly, in vivo administration of IL-7 mice accelerated the expansion of IL-7R(high) memory CD4(+) LPLs and thereby exacerbated chronic colitis in RAG-2(-/-) mice transferred with CD4(+) LPLs from colitic TCR-alpha(-/-) mice. Conversely, the administration of anti-IL-7R monoclonal antibody significantly inhibited the development of TCR-alpha(-/-) colitis with decreased expansion of CD4(+) LPLs. Collectively, the present data indicate that IL-7 is essential for the expansion of pathogenic memory CD4(+) T cells under pathological conditions. Therefore, therapeutic approaches targeting the IL-7R pathway may be feasible in the treatment of human inflammatory bowel disease.[1]


  1. IL-7 exacerbates chronic colitis with expansion of memory IL-7Rhigh CD4+ mucosal T cells in mice. Okada, E., Yamazaki, M., Tanabe, M., Takeuchi, T., Nanno, M., Oshima, S., Okamoto, R., Tsuchiya, K., Nakamura, T., Kanai, T., Hibi, T., Watanabe, M. Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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