IL-7, but not thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), during priming enhances the generation of memory CD4+ T cells

Zhiyong Guo, Guohua Wang, Yoshihiro Miyahara, Mithun Khattar, Sean P. Linkes, Changxi Wang, Jiahong Xia, Yiqing Pan, Wenhao Chen, Xiaoshun He, Stanislaw M. Stepkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Multiple activation signals (including antigen, co-stimulation, and cytokines) during T-cell priming affect the subsequent generation of memory T cells, whose survival is maintained by IL-7 and IL-15. Since the IL-7 receptor is highly expressed not only on the surface of memory T cells but also on naïve T cells, we propose that early exposure to IL-7 during priming of naïve T cells may promote their survival, and thus enhances the generation of memory cells. To test this hypothesis, TCR transgenic OT-II CD4+ T cells were stimulated in vitro with OVA323-339 peptide presented by syngeneic antigen-presenting cells (APCs). IL-7 or an IL-7 like cytokine, thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), was added at the initial 2-day cultivation stage. We found that a short exposure to IL-7 or TSLP during priming did not affect activation, proliferation, and glucose uptake by CD4+ T cells compared to controls when examined on culture day 6. However, the same 6-day cultures showed that IL-7 (but not TSLP) significantly decreased the frequency of apoptotic CD4+ T cells compared to controls. More importantly, an adoptive transfer of the 6-day primed OT-II T cells into CD45.1+ congenic mice demonstrated that IL-7 (but not TSLP) elevated by 3- and 4-fold the number of transferred CD4+ T cells in spleen (p<0.05) and lymph nodes (p<0.05), respectively, compared to controls. Almost all transferred CD4+ T populations displayed phenotypes of effector (CD44+CD62L-) or central (CD44+CD62L+) memory T cells. We thus conclude that exposure of CD4+ T cells to IL-7 during priming results in an increased frequency of CD4+ memory T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


  • Interleukin 7
  • Memory T cells
  • Thymic stromal lymphopoietin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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