A function for IL-7R for CD4 CD25 foxp3 T regulatory cells

Allison L. Bayer, Joon Youb Lee, Anabel De La Barrera, Charles D. Surh, Thomas R. Malek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


The IL-2/IL-2R interaction is important for development and peripheral homeostasis of T regulatory (T reg) cells. 1L-2- and IL-2R-deficient mice are not completely devoid of Foxp3 + cells, but rather lack population of mature CD4 +CD25 +Foxp3 hieh T reg cells and contain few immature CD4 +CD25 -Foxp3 low T. cells. Interestingly, common γ chain (γc) knockout mice have been shown to have a near complete absence of Foxp3 + T reg cells, including the immature CD25 -Foxp3 low subset. Therefore, other γc-cytokine(s) must be critically important during thymic development of CD4 +CD25 +Foxp3 + T reg cells apart from the IL-2. The present study was undertaken to determine whether the γc-cytokines IL-7 or IL-15 normally contribute to expression of Foxp3 and Treg cell production. These studies revealed that mice double deficient in IL-2Rβ and 1L-7Rα contained a striking lack in the CD4 +Foxp3 + population and the T reg cell defect recapitulated the γc knockout mice. In the absence of IL-7R signaling, 1L-15/IL-15R interaction is dispensable for the production of CD4 +CD25 +Foxp3 + T reg cells, indicating that normal thymic T reg cell production likely depends on signaling through both IL-2 and IL-7 receptors. Selective thymic reconstitution of IL-2Rβ in mice double deficient in IL-2Rβ and IL-7Ra established that IL-2Rβ is dominant and sufficient to restore production of T reg cells. Furthermore, the survival of peripheral CD4 +Foxp3 low cells in IL-2R/β -/- mice appears to depend upon IL-7R signaling. Collectively, these data indicate that IL-7R signaling contributes to T reg cell development and peripheral homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-234
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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