Interleukin-21 and cellular activation concurrently induce potent cytotoxic function and promote antiviral activity in human CD8 T cells

Anita Parmigiani, Maria F. Pallin, Helena Schmidtmayerova, Mathias G. Lichtenheld, Savita Pahwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 induces a progressive deterioration of the immune system that ultimately leads to aquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Murine models indicate that the common γ-chain (γc)-sharing cytokine interleukin (IL)-21 and its receptor (IL-21R) play a crucial role in maintaining polyfunctional T cell responses during chronic viral infections. Therefore, we analyzed the ability of this cytokine to modulate the properties of human CD8 T cells in comparison with other γc-sharing cytokines (IL-2, IL-7, and IL-15). CD8 T cells from healthy volunteers were stimulated in vitro via T cell receptor signals to mimic the heightened status of immune activation of HIV-infected patients. The administration of IL-21 upregulated cytotoxic effector function and the expression of the costimulatory molecule CD28. Notably, this outcome was not accompanied by increased cellular proliferation or activation. Moreover, IL-21 promoted antiviral activity while not inducing HIV-1 replication in vitro. Thus, IL-21 may be a favorable molecule for immunotherapy and a suitable vaccine adjuvant in HIV-infected individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Immunology
Volume72
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011

Keywords

  • CD8 T lymphocytes
  • Cytotoxicity
  • HIV
  • IL-21
  • Immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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