Interleukin 7 reduces the levels of spontaneous apoptosis in CD4 + and CD8+ T cells from HIV-1-infected individuals

Lia Vassena, Michael Proschan, Anthony S. Fauci, Paolo Lusso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Apoptosis has been suggested as one of the major mechanisms of CD4 + T cell depletion during the course of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection. Here, we show that interleukin 7 (IL-7), a nonredundant cytokine that plays essential roles in the generation and homeostasis of the T cell compartment of the immune system, exerts strong antiapoptotic effects ex vivo on both CD4 + and CD8+ T cells derived from HIV-1-infected subjects. The level of IL-7-mediated reduction of apoptosis was inversely correlated with the number of circulating CD4+ T cells, indicating a higher sensitivity to IL-7 effects in patients with more advanced disease. The antiapoptotic effect of IL-7 was uncoupled from the induction of cellular proliferation or endogenous HIV-1 replication. These results provide a further rationale for consideration of IL-7 as an agent of immune reconstitution in HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2355-2360
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 13 2007



  • Cytokines
  • Immune reconstitution
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Programmed cell death
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

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