IL-7 administration to humans leads to expansion of CD8+ and CD4+ cells but a relative decrease of CD4+ T-regulatory cells.
ABSTRACT Lymphopenia is a serious consequence of HIV infection and the administration of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Although growth factors can be administered to patients to increase circulating neutrophils, there is no effective method to stimulate CD8+ lymphocyte production in humans, in vivo. This report is the first to describe the administration of recombinant interleukin-7 to humans and demonstrates the ability of this cytokine to mediate selective increases in CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes along with a decrease in the percentage of CD4+ T-regulatory cells. These studies suggest an important role for interleukin-7 in the treatment of patients with lymphopenia.