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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
Fator do impacto: 1.352 FI de cinco anos: 3.347 SJR: 0.657 SNIP: 0.55 CiteScore™: 2.19

ISSN Imprimir: 1040-8401
ISSN On-line: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v28.i4.40
pages 325-339

IL-7 and IL-15: Biology and Roles in T-Cell Immunity in Health and Disease

Hang-Rae Kim
Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520 US.A; and Department of Anatomy, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, 110-799 Republic of Korea
Kyung-A Hwang
Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520 USA
Sung-Hwan Park
Department of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, 137-040 Republic of Korea
Insoo Kang
Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520 USA


Cytokines IL-7 and IL-15 are essentially involved in T-cell homeostasis. IL-7 is required for developing mature T cells in the thymus, whereas in the periphery, it promotes the survival of naïve and memory T cells by upregulating the antiapoptotic molecule Bcl-2. IL-15 potently induces the proliferation of memory CD8+ T cells independently of antigen and augments their effector function. Although IL-7 and IL-15 may help to defend the host against microorganisms and tumors by promoting T-cell immunity, dysregulated production of IL-7 and IL-15 can be harmful. In fact, increased levels of IL-15 in the circulation and inflamed tissues have been reported in various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), possibly contributing to the pathogenesis. In addition, IL-7, which may induce the production of inflammatory cytokines from T cells and monocytes, are found to be elevated in the joints of patients with RA. Here, we review what is currently known about the roles of these cytokines in T-cell immunity, in general, as well as in RA, in particular, focusing on recent discoveries.

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