Tese de doutoramento, Ciências Biomédica (Ciências Biopatológicas), Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Medicina, 2010; Although leukaemia arises in the bone marrow, patients often present infiltration of other organs, such as the spleen, CNS, liver, lungs and peripheral blood. Mechanisms of cell migration, invasion, vasculogenesis and angiogenesis have been shown to play a crucial role in haematological cancers. Moreover, micro-environmental factors such as chemokines and cytokines were already shown to enhance T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) viability, proliferation and migration. Interleukin 7 (IL-7) is a key prosurvival cytokine essential for T-cell proliferation, development and homeostasis. Because IL-7 is produced at the sites of T-cell development, and also other organs to which leukaemia cells disseminate, it has the potential to modulate growth and homing of malignant T-cells. In this study, we used T-ALL cell lines and primary human thymocytes to assess whether IL-7 impacted on T-cell motility and migration. Our work suggests, for the first time, that IL-7 enhances T-ALL cell motility, as assessed by time-lapse microscopy. Furthermore, IL-7 has the capacity to direct T-ALL cell migration, acting as a chemoattractant in a transwell assay...
mRNA for interleukin 7 (IL-7) was readily detected in leukemic cells immediately upon their removal from patients with chronic B-lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL). IL-7 mRNA expression and IL-7 gene transcription were down regulated, however, when B-CLL cells were placed in culture at 37 degrees C for 4 hr. Down regulation of the IL-7 gene was prevented in cells maintained at 4 degrees C. Continued culture of B-CLL cells at 37 degrees C resulted in programmed cell death, or apoptosis, as evidenced by DNA fragmentation. The coincident kinetics of IL-7 gene down regulation and apoptosis suggested that IL-7 gene expression may be required for maintenance of CLL viability in vivo. Signals for IL-7 gene regulation and apoptosis induction were thus examined. Activation of normal B cells through their immunoglobulin receptors did not result in upregulation of IL-7 gene expression. Reagents required for CLL cell purification and culture also did not contribute to IL-7 gene regulation and apoptosis induction. IL-7 gene expression was retained and apoptosis was prevented, however, in CLL cells cultured on a monolayer of EA.hy926 human umbilical cord endothelial hybrid cells. Signals specifically presented by EA.hy926 cells supported both CLL cell viability and IL-7 gene expression...
Functional interleukin 7 (IL-7) receptors are expressed on the surface of multiphenotypic, biphenotypic, and immature B-lineage human lymphoid precursor cells with germ-line immunoglobulin heavy-chain genes but not on more mature B-lineage lymphoid cells with rearranged and/or expressed immunoglobulin heavy-chain genes. Thus, IL-7 may have an important regulatory role during the earliest stages of human B-cell ontogeny. The engagement of the surface IL-7 receptors on immature B-cell precursor cells with recombinant human IL-7 (rhIL-7) results in enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple phosphoproteins, stimulates inositol phospholipid turnover and DNA synthesis, and promotes their clonal proliferation. These effects are (i) specific for rhIL-7, since rhIL-3, rhIL-4, rhIL-5, rhIL-6, and recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor do not elicit similar activities on IL-7 receptor-positive human pro-B cells; and (ii) mediated by IL-7 receptors, since they are not observed in IL-7 receptor-negative B-lineage lymphoid cell populations. rhIL-7-induced tyrosine phosphorylation on the 35-, 53-, 55-, 62-, 69-, 76-, 94-, 150-, 170-, and 190-kDa substrates as well as rhIL-7-induced stimulation of inositol phospholipid turnover are abrogated by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein. These results demonstrate that the IL-7 receptor on immature human B-cell precursor populations is intimately linked to a functional tyrosine kinase pathway and tyrosine phosphorylation is an important and perhaps mandatory step in the generation of the IL-7 receptor-linked transmembrane signal.
Both antigen-presenting cells and immune effector cells are required to effectively eradicate or contain Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected cells. A variety of cytokines are involved to ensure productive “cross talk” between macrophages and T lymphocytes. For instance, infection of macrophages with mycobacteria leads to effective interleukin-7 (IL-7) and IL-15 secretion, and both cytokines are able to maintain strong cellular immune responses of α/β and γ/δ T cells. Here we show that either cytokine is able to enhance survival of M. tuberculosis-infected BALB/c mice significantly compared to application of IL-2, IL-4, or phosphate-buffered saline (as a control). Enhanced survival could be achieved only when IL-7 or IL-15 was delivered as a treatment (i.e., 3 weeks postinfection), not when it was administered at the time of infection. Increased survival of M. tuberculosis-infected animals was observed following passive transfer of spleen cells harvested from M. tuberculosis-infected, IL-7- or IL-15-treated animals, but not after transfer of spleen cells obtained from mice which received either cytokine alone. Histological examination revealed that IL-7 and IL-15 failed to significantly impact on the number and composition of granulomas formed or the bacterial load. Our data indicated that administration of IL-7 or IL-15 to M. tuberculosis-treated animals resulted in a qualitatively different cellular immune response in spleen cells as reflected by increased tumor necrosis factor alpha and decreased gamma interferon secretion in response to M. tuberculosis-infected antigen-presenting cells.
A cDNA encoding biologically active human interleukin 7 was isolated by hybridization with the homologous murine clone. Nucleotide sequence analysis indicated that this cDNA was capable of encoding a protein of 177 amino acids with a signal sequence of 25 amino acids and a calculated mass of 17.4 kDa for the mature protein. Recombinant human interleukin 7 stimulated the proliferation of murine pre-B cells and was active on cells harvested from human bone marrow that are enriched for B-lineage progenitor cells. Analysis of RNA by blot hybridization demonstrated the presence of two size classes of interleukin 7 mRNA in human splenic and thymic tissue.
Interleukin 7 (IL-7) is a 25-kDa cytokine which was purified and its corresponding cDNA was cloned based upon its ability to stimulate the proliferation of pre-B cells. It has been shown that IL-7 can also function as a costimulator with Con A for the proliferation of T lymphocytes by inducing the production of interleukin 2 (IL-2). We demonstrate here that IL-7 in combination with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate can directly drive the proliferation of purified T cells and that this response is not inhibited by cyclosporine A or by antibodies to IL-2 and IL-4. Stimulation of T cells with phorbol myristate acetate and IL-2, IL-4, or IL-7 prepared T cells to respond to any of the three lymphokines. Although T cells activated in vitro by anti-CD3 or allogeneic cells failed to proliferate when challenged with IL-7, T cells primed in vivo to the same stimuli demonstrated a significant proliferative response when restimulated in vitro with IL-7. IL-7 can, therefore, function both as a growth factor for T cells in an IL-2-independent manner and as a competence factor for the induction of lymphokine responsiveness. The ability to induce IL-7 responsiveness via stimulation of the T-cell receptor complex in vivo, but not in vitro, raises the possibility that IL-7 may play a role in T-cell growth and differentiation in vivo.
The ability of interleukin-7 (IL-7) and IL-15 to expand and/or augment effector cell functions may be of therapeutic benefit to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. The functional effects of these cytokines on innate HIV-specific immunity and their impact on cells harboring HIV are unknown. We demonstrate that both IL-7 and IL-15 augment natural killer (NK) function by using cells (CD3− CD16+ CD56+) from both HIV-positive and -negative donors. Whereas IL-7 enhances NK function through upregulation of Fas ligand, the effect of IL-15 is mediated through upregulation of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand. The difference in these effector mechanisms is reflected by the ability of IL-15-treated but not IL-7-treated NK cells to reduce the burden of replication-competent HIV in autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) (infectious units per million for control NK cells, 6.79; for IL-7-treated NK cells, 236.17; for IL-15-treated cells, 1.01; P = 0.01 versus control). In addition, the treatment of PBMC with IL-15-treated but not IL-7-treated NK cells causes undetectable HIV p24 (five of five cases), HIV RNA (five of five cases), or HIV DNA (three of five cases). These results support the concept of adjuvant immunotherapy of HIV infection with either IL-7 or IL-15 but suggest that the NK-mediated antiviral effect of IL-15 may be superior.
The murine interleukin-7 (IL-7) gene was disrupted to examine the role of IL-7 in the lymphoid system. Expansion of lymphoid cells is sharply curtailed in IL-7-deficient mice. This is evident in a dramatic reduction but not elimination of lymphoid cells in the thymus, bone marrow and spleen. The few thymocytes present express CD4 and/or CD8 markers associated with T-cell maturation. Similarly, a limited number of B cells detected in the bone marrow rearrange and express immunoglobulin genes. Small but distinct populations of B and T cells are found in the spleens of IL-7-deficient mice. Thus the signal transmitted by IL-7 plays a central role in the expansion of lymphocytes while it is not absolutely required for their maturation. A transgene that directs expression of IL-7 to lymphoid cells was found to restore the numbers of thymocytes, bone marrow B-cell progenitors and splenic lymphocytes of IL-7-deficient mice to approximately normal levels. This genetic complementation confirms that the lymphoid defect is specifically due to the absence of IL-7 and demonstrates that the expansion of lymphoid cells in an organism is regulated by their exposure to IL-7.
Using a combination of theoretical sequence structure recognition predictions and experimental disulfide bond assignments, a three-dimensional (3D) model of human interleukin-7 (hIL-7) was constructed that predicts atypical surface chemistry in helix D that is important for receptor activation. A 3D model of hIL-7 was built using the X-ray crystal structure of interleukin-4 (IL-4) as a template (Walter MR et al., 1992, J Mol Biol. 224:1075-1085; Walter MR et al., 1992, J Biol Chem 267:20371-20376). Core secondary structures were constructed from sequences of hIL-7 predicted to form helices. The model was constructed by superimposing IL-7 helices onto the IL-4 template and connecting them together in an up-up down-down topology. The model was finished by incorporating the disulfide bond assignments (Cys3, Cys142), (Cys35, Cys130), and (Cys48, Cys93), which were determined by MALDI mass spectroscopy and site-directed mutagenesis (Cosenza L, Sweeney E, Murphy JR, 1997, J Biol Chem 272:32995-33000). Quality analysis of the hIL-7 model identified poor structural features in the carboxyl terminus that, when further studied using hydrophobic moment analysis, detected an atypical structural property in helix D, which contains Cys 130 and Cys142. This analysis demonstrated that helix D had a hydrophobic surface exposed to bulk solvent that accounted for the poor quality of the model...
Interleukin 7 is a crucial factor for the development of murine T and B lymphocytes. We now report that, in the absence of interleukin 7, B lymphocyte production takes place exclusively during fetal and perinatal life, ceasing after 7 wk of age. In peripheral organs, however, the pool of B lymphocytes is stable throughout adult life and consists only of cells that belong to the B1 and marginal zone (MZ) compartments. This is accompanied by a 50-fold increase in the frequency of immunoglobulin (Ig)M- and IgG-secreting cells, and the concentration of serum immunoglobulins is increased three- to fivefold. Both the MZ phenotype and the increase in serum IgM are T cell independent. These findings reveal a previously undescribed pathway of B lymphopoiesis that is active in early life and is interleukin 7 independent. This pathway generates B1 cells and a normal sized MZ B lymphocyte compartment.
We have demonstrated that intestinal epithelial cells produce interleukin 7 (IL-7), and IL-7 serves as a potent regulatory factor for proliferation of intestinal mucosal lymphocytes expressing functional IL-7 receptor. To clarify the mechanism by which locally produced IL-7 regulates the mucosal lymphocytes, we investigated IL-7 transgenic mice. Here we report that transgenic mice expressing murine IL-7 cDNA driver by the SRα promoter developed chronic colitis in concert with the expression of SRα/IL-7 transgene in the colonic mucosa. IL-7 transgenic but not littermate mice developed chronic colitis at 4–12 wk of age, with histopathological similarity to ulcerative colitis in humans. Southern blot hybridization and competitive PCR demonstrated that the expression of IL-7 messenger RNA was increased in the colonic mucosal lymphocytes but not in the colonic epithelial cells. IL-7 protein accumulation was decreased in the goblet cell–depleted colonic epithelium in the transgenic mice. Immunohistochemical and cytokine production analysis showed that lymphoid infiltrates in the lamina propria were dominated by T helper cell type 1 CD4+ T cells. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that CD4+ intraepithelial T cells were increased...
Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is a crucial cytokine involved in T-cell survival and development but its signalling in human T cells, particularly in effector/memory T cells, is poorly documented. In this study, we found that IL-7 protects human CD4+ effector/memory T cells from apoptosis induced upon the absence of stimulation and cytokines. We show that IL-7 up-regulates not only Bcl-2 but also Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 as well. Interleukin-7-induced activation of the janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signalling pathway is sufficient for cell survival and up-regulation of Bcl-2 proteins. In contrast to previous studies with naive T cells, we found that IL-7 is a weak activator of the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT (also referred as protein kinase B) pathway and IL-7-mediated cell survival occurs independently from the PI3K/AKT pathway as well as from activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway. Considering the contribution of both IL-7 and CD4+ effector/memory T cells to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and colitis, our study suggests that IL-7 can contribute to these diseases by promoting cell survival. A further understanding of the mechanisms of IL-7 signalling in effector/memory T cells associated with autoimmune inflammatory diseases may lead to potential new therapeutic avenues.
Interleukin-7 is a potent regulator of lymphocyte proliferation, but it inducing growth of solid tumors is few known. We study the relationship between Interleukin-7 and the regulator of the cell cycle, cyclin D1 and the mechanism of Interleukin-7 regulating cell growth in human lung cancer. We detected expression of cyclin D1 and its impact on the prognosis of lung cancer patients. Using Western blot, reverse transcriptase-PCR, Co-Immunoprecipitation, and Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, we investigated how Interleukin-7 regulated cyclin D1 in vitro and in nude mice. We found that, in lung cancer cell lines and in nude mice, Interleukin-7/Interleukin-7 receptor increased the expression of cyclin D1 and phosphorylation of c-Fos/c-Jun, induce c-Fos and c-Jun heterodimer formation, and enhanced c-Fos/c-Jun DNA-binding activity to regulate cyclin D1. In addition, lymph node metastasis, tumor stage, and cyclin D1 were the strongest predictors of survival in 100 human non-small cell lung cancer specimens analyzed. Taken together, our results provided evidence that Interleukin-7/Interleukin-7 receptor induced cyclin D1 up-regulation via c-Fos/c-Jun pathway to promote proliferation of cells in lung cancer.
Interleukin-7 is a critical cytokine for lymphoid development and a direct inhibitor of in vitro osteoclastogenesis in murine bone marrow cultures. To explore the role of IL-7 in bone, we generated transgenic mouse lines bearing the 2.3 Kb rat collagen 1A1 promoter driving the expression of human IL-7 specifically in osteoblasts. In addition we crossed these mice with IL-7 deficient mice to determine if the alterations in lymphopoiesis, bone mass and osteoclast formation observed in the IL-7 KO mice could be rescued by osteoblast-specific overexpression of IL-7. Here we show that mice overexpressing human IL-7 in the osteoblast lineage demonstrated increased trabecular bone volume in vivo by µCT and decreased osteoclast formation in vitro. Furthermore, targeted overexpression of IL-7 in osteoblasts rescued the osteopenic bone phenotype and B cell development of IL-7 KO mice but did not have an effect on T lymphopoiesis, which occurs in the periphery. The bone phenotypes in IL-7 KO mice and targeted IL-7 overexpressing mouse models were observed only in females. These results likely reflect both a direct inhibitory effects of IL-7 on osteoclastogenesis in vivo and gender specific differences in responses to IL-7.
Among the milestones that occur during T-cell development in the thymus is the expression of T-cell receptor-β (TCR-β) and the formation of the pre-TCR complex. Signals emanating from the pre-TCR trigger survival, proliferation and differentiation of T-cell precursors. Although the pre-TCR is essential for these cell outcomes, other receptors, such as Notch and CXCR4, also contribute. Whether interleukin-7 (IL-7) participates in promoting the survival or proliferation of pre-TCR-expressing cells is controversial. We used in vitro and in vivo models of T-cell development to examine the function of IL-7 in TCR-β-expressing thymocytes. Culturing TCR-β-expressing CD4− CD8− double-negative thymocytes in an in vitro model of T-cell development revealed that IL-7 reduced the frequency of CD4+ CD8+ double-positive thymocytes at the time of harvest. The mechanism for this change in the percentage of double-positive cells was that IL-7 promoted the survival of thymocytes that had not yet differentiated. By preserving the double-negative population, IL-7 reduced the frequency of double-positive thymocytes. Interleukin-7 was not required for proliferation in the in vitro system. To follow this observation, we examined mice lacking CD127 (IL-7Rα). In addition to the known effect of CD127 deficiency on T-cell development before TCR-β expression...
Interleukin 7/Interleukin 7 receptor (IL-7/IL-7R) signaling induces the upregulation of cyclin D1 to promote cell proliferation in lung cancer, but its role in preventing the apoptosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines remains unknown. To study the role of IL-7 in lung cancer cell apoptosis, normal HBE cells as well as A549 and H1299 NSCLC cells were examined using flow cytometry. The results showed that the activation of IL-7R by its specific ligand, exogenous interleukin-7, was associated with a significant decline in apoptotic cells. Western blot and real-time PCR assays indicated that the activation of IL-7/IL-7R significantly upregulated anti-apoptotic bcl-2 and downregulated pro-apoptotic bax and p53 at both protein and mRNA levels. The knockdown of IL-7R through small interfering RNAs significantly attenuated these effects of exogenous IL-7. However, there was no significant anti-apoptotic effect in H1299 (p53-) cells. Furthermore, the inhibition of p53 significantly abolished the effects of IL-7/IL-7R on lung cancer cell apoptosis. These results strongly suggest that IL-7/IL-7R prevents apoptosis by upregulating the expression of bcl-2 and by downregulating the expression of bax, potentially via the p53 pathway in A549 and HBE cells.
Interleukin 7 and 15 are considered powerful pro-inflammatory cytokines, they have the ability to destabilize chromosomes and induce tumorigenesis. Additionally, they can control malignancy proliferation by influencing the tumor microenvironment and immune system. Immunotherapy has been proposed as a treatment modality for malignancy for over a decade; the exact mechanisms of action and pathways are still under investigation. Interleukin 7 and 15 have been extensively investigated in hematological malignancies since their mode of action influences the stimulation of the immune system in a more direct way than other malignancies such as lung, melanoma, and breast, renal and colorectal cancer.
T cell activation and self-tolerance are tightly regulated to provide effective host defense against foreign pathogens while deflecting inappropriate autoimmune responses. Golgi Asn (N)-linked protein glycosylation co-regulates homeostatic set points for T cell growth, differentiation and self-tolerance to influence risk of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Human autoimmunity is a complex trait that develops from intricate and poorly understood interactions between an individual’s genetics and their environmental exposures. Recent evidence from our group suggests that in MS, additive and/or epistatic interactions between multiple genetic and environmental risk factors combine to dysregulate a common biochemical pathway, namely Golgi N-glycosylation. Here, we review the multiple regulatory mechanisms controlling N-glycan branching in T cells and autoimmunity, focusing on recent data implicating a critical role for interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interleukin-7 (IL-7) signaling.
Interleukin 7 is a crucial factor for the development of murine T and B lymphocytes. We now
report that, in the absence of interleukin 7, B lymphocyte production takes place exclusively
during fetal and perinatal life, ceasing after 7 wk of age. In peripheral organs, however, the pool
of B lymphocytes is stable throughout adult life and consists only of cells that belong to the B1
and marginal zone (MZ) compartments. This is accompanied by a 50-fold increase in the frequency
of immunoglobulin (Ig)M- and IgG-secreting cells, and the concentration of serum
immunoglobulins is increased three- to fivefold. Both the MZ phenotype and the increase in
serum IgM are T cell independent. These findings reveal a previously undescribed pathway of
B lymphopoiesis that is active in early life and is interleukin 7 independent. This pathway generates
B1 cells and a normal sized MZ B lymphocyte compartment.
The effects of dexamethasone phosphate and interleukin-7 upon the proliferation of T-cells and the production of interferon-γ in the newborn's cord blood mononuclear cell cultures were studied. The capability of dexamethasone to enhance T-cell proliferation induced by anti-CD3 with interleukin-7 in some newborn cord blood mononuclear cell cultures was identified. Dexamethasone suppressed production of interferon-γ in 68-h cell cultures stimulated with anti-CD3 both in the presence of interleukin-7 and without it. However, a 68-h cultivation of newborn blood cells with dexamethasone, anti-CD3 and interleukin-7 resulted in the accumulation of T-lymphocytes capable of producing interferon-γ after restimulation. As a result of it the amount of interferon-γ producing CD7+ T-cells and the concentration of interferon-γ in cultural supernatants were maximal in the cell cultures incubated with anti-CD3, interleukin-7 and dexamethasone during the first 68 h and subsequently restimulated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and ionomycin. The stimulation of neonatal or adult blood cells by dexamethasone, anti-CD3 and interleukine-7 also causes a decrease in the number of naïve T-cells and central memory cells and an increase in the number of effector memory CD7+CD45RA+CD62L− cells in cultures. It is possible that these effects are caused by the influence of dexamethasone on IL-7 receptor expression: it is known that IL-7 receptor alpha-chain gene is a glucocorticoid-inducible gene.