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Homeostatic proliferation and survival of naive and memory T cells


The immune system relies on homeostatic mechanisms in order to adapt to the changing requirements encountered during steady-state existence and activation by antigen. For T cells, this involves maintenance of a diverse repertoire of naive cells, rapid elimination of effector cells after pathogen clearance, and long-term survival of memory cells. The reduction of T-cell counts by either cytotoxic drugs, irradiation, or certain viruses is known to lead to lymphopenia-induced proliferation and restoration of normal T-cell levels. Such expansion is governed by the interaction of TCR with self-peptide/MHC (p/MHC) molecules plus contact with cytokines, especially IL-7. These same ligands, i.e. p/MHC molecules and IL-7, maintain naive T lymphocytes as resting cells under steady-state T-cell-sufficient conditions. Unlike naive cells, typical ""central"" memory T cells rely on a combination of IL-7 and IL-15 for their survival in interphase and for occasional cell division without requiring signals from p/MHC molecules. Other memory T-cell subsets are less quiescent and include naturally occurring activated memory-phenotype cells, memory cells generated during chronic viral infections, and effector memory cells. These subsets of activated memory cells differ from central memory T cells in their requirements for homeostatic proliferation and survival. Thus, the factors controlling T-cell homeostasis can be seen to vary considerably from one subset to another as described in detail in this review.

Type Journal
ISBN 1521-4141 (Electronic)
Authors Boyman, O.; Letourneau, S.; Krieg, C.; Sprent, J.;
Published Date 2009-01-01
Published Volume 39
Published Issue 8
Published Pages 2088-94
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version