Molecular and functional evidence for activity of murine IL-7 on human lymphocytes

Joao T. Barata, Ana Silva, Miguel Abecasis, Nadia Carlesso, Ana Cumano, Angelo A. Cardoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Although interleukin-7 (IL-7) is essential for human and murine lymphopoiesis and homeostasis, clear disparities between these species regarding the role of IL-7 during B-cell development suggest that other, subtler differences may exist. One basic unsolved issue of IL-7 biology concerns cross-species activity, because in contrast to the human ortholog, the ability of murine (m)IL-7 to stimulate human cells remains unresolved. Establishing whether two-way cross-species reactivity occurs is fundamental for evaluating the role of IL-7 in chimeric human-mouse models, which are the most versatile tools for studying human lymphoid development and disease in vivo. Here, we show that mIL-7 triggers the same signaling pathways as human (h)IL-7 in human T cells, promoting similar changes in viability, proliferation, size, and immunophenotype, even at low concentrations. This ability is not confined to T cells, because mIL-7 mediates cell growth and protects human B-cell precursors from dexamethasone-induced apoptosis. Importantly, endogenous mIL-7 produced in the mouse thymic microenvironment stimulates human T cells, because their expansion in chimeric fetal thymic organ cultures is inhibited by a mIL-7-specific neutralizing antibody. Our results demonstrate that mIL-7 affects human lymphocytes and indicate that mouse models of human lymphoid development and disease must integrate the biological effects of endogenous IL-7 on human cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1132-1141
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research

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