The recently cloned cytokine interleukin-15 (IL-15) shares several functional activities with IL-2 in different cell systems. Although IL-15 does not show sequence homology with IL-2, it uses components of the IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) for binding and signal transduction, namely, p75 (β) and the p64 (γ) chains of IL-2R. To evaluate whether IL-15 is involved in the activation of granular lymphocytes (GL) in patients with lymphoproliferative disease of granular lymphocytes (LDGL), we evaluated the ability of IL-15 to stimulate GL proliferation, cytotoxic function, and the role of IL-2R β and γ molecules on relevant cells. Our results show that IL-15 stimulates cell proliferation and cytotoxic activity of GL in LDGL patients. Reverse- transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and phenotypic analyses using the anti-IL-2R γ-chain-specific TUGh4 monoclonal antibody (MoAb) indicate that both CD3+ and CD3- GL express the p64 IL-2R, a result previously unknown. IL-15 activity was inhibited by antibodies against p75 and p64 IL-2R chains, while no inhibitory effects are detectable with anti- p55 IL-2R antibody. The association of anti-p75 and anti-p64 IL-2R MoAbs resulted in a nearly complete (95%) inhibition of IL-15-induced GL proliferation. Using RT-PCR analysis, we demonstrated that highly purified CD3+ and CD3- GL did not express mRNA for IL-15 or IL-2. By contrast, a clear-cut IL-15 mRNA signal was detected by RT-PCR in patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cells, with monocytes likely accounting for the source of IL-15 in LDGL patients. However, even in concentrated supernatants from enriched monocyte populations, we could not demonstrate the presence of IL- 15 protein. Using anti-IL-15 specific MoAbs, a membrane-bound form of this cytokine was demonstrated both on CD3+ and CD3- LDGL cells. By RT-PCR analysis, purified GL from these patients were found to express the message for IL-15 receptor α chain. Taken together, these results indicate that both CD3+ and CD3- GL are stimulated by IL-15 and that this cytokine mediates its activity through the β and γ chains of the IL-2R, providing further suggestions for the interpretation of the mechanisms that lead to cell expansion in patients with LDGL.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 1997|
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