Rendering based on PDB .
|RNA expression pattern|
IL-7 a hematopoietic growth factor secreted by stromal cells in the bone marrow and thymus. It is also produced by keratinocytes, dendritic cells, hepatocytes, neurons, and epithelial cells but is not produced by normal lymphocytes.
T cell maturation
IL-7 stimulates the differentiation of multipotent (pluripotent) hematopoietic stem cells into lymphoid progenitor cells (as opposed to myeloid progenitor cells where differentiation is stimulated by IL-3). It also stimulates proliferation of all cells in the lymphoid lineage (B cells, T cells and NK cells). It is important for proliferation during certain stages of B-cell maturation, T and NK cell survival, development and homeostasis.
IL-7 is a cytokine important for B and T cell development. This cytokine and the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) form a heterodimer that functions as a pre-pro-B cell growth-stimulating factor. This cytokine is found to be a cofactor for V(D)J rearrangement of the T cell receptor beta (TCRß) during early T cell development. This cytokine can be produced locally by intestinal epithelial and epithelial goblet cells, and may serve as a regulatory factor for intestinal mucosal lymphocytes. Knockout studies in mice suggested that this cytokine plays an essential role in lymphoid cell survival.
IL-7 binds to the IL-7 receptor, a heterodimer consisting of Interleukin-7 receptor alpha and common gamma chain receptor. Binding results in a cascade of signals important for T-cell development within the thymus and survival within the periphery. Knockout mice which genetically lack IL-7 receptor exhibit thymic atrophy, arrest of T-cell development at the double positive stage, and severe lymphopenia. Administration of IL-7 to mice results in an increase in recent thymic emigrants, increases in B and T cells, and increased recovery of T cells after cyclophosphamide administration or after bone marrow transplantation.
Il-7 promotes hematological malignancies (acute lymphoblastic leukemia, T cell lymphoma).
Recombinant IL-7 has been safely administered to patients in several phase I and II clinical trials. A human study of IL-7 in patients with cancer demonstrated that administration of this cytokine can transiently disrupt the homeostasis of both CD8+ and CD4+ T cells with a commensurate decrease in the percentage of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T regulatory cells. No objective cancer regression was observed, however a dose limiting toxicity (DLT) was not reached in this study due to the development of neutralizing antibodies against the recombinant cytokine.
Cytheris has initiated the Phase II clinical trial of recombinant human IL-7, in combination with two antiretroviral drugs, integrase inhibitor raltegravir (Isentress - Merck & Co) and the CCR5 inhibitor, maraviroc (Selzentry - ViiV Healthcare) for the treatment of HIV infections. It is hoped that by combining the antiretroviral drugs, coupled with an immunomodulating agent capable of targeting or inducing activation of latently infected cells, the reservoirs of HIV can be decreased and, in the best case scenario, eradication of the virus may be feasible.
IL-7 could also be beneficial in improving immune recovery after allogenic stem cell transplant.
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