Research Papers:

Effect of IL-7 and IL-15 on T cell phenotype in myelodysplastic syndromes

Wen Dong, Tingting Ding, Lei Wu, Xiubao Ren, P.K. Epling-Burnette and Lili Yang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:27479-27488. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8459

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Wen Dong1, Tingting Ding2,3,4, Lei Wu2,3,4, Xiubao Ren2,3,4, P.K. Epling-Burnette5, Lili Yang2,3,4

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tianjin Hongqiao Hospital, Tianjin, P.R. China

2Department of Immunology, Tianjin Cancer Institute and Hospital, Tianjin Medical University, P.R. China

3National Clinical Research Center of Cancer, P.R. China

4Tianjin Key Laboratory of Cancer Immunology and Biotherapy, Tianjin, P.R. China

5Immunology Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA

Correspondence to:

Lili Yang, e-mail: [email protected]

P.K. Epling-Burnette, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: myelodysplastic syndromes, T cells, IL-15, IL-7

Received: January 25, 2016     Accepted: March 16, 2016     Published: March 29, 2016


Aberrant T cell phenotype is one of the characteristics of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). In this study, we detected an increased concentration of IL-15 in the plasma of MDS patients (n = 20) compared with that in the plasma of healthy controls (n = 20). In MDS patients, reduced naïve CD4+ and CD8+ T cells [16.11 ± 6.56 vs. 24.11 ± 7.18 for CD4+ T cells (p < 0.001) and 13.15 ± 5.67 vs. 23.51 ± 6.25 for CD8+ T cells (p < 0.001)] were observed. The reduced naïve and increased effector memory T cells were significantly correlated with IL-15 plasma level. Then, the effect of IL-15 and IL-7 was tested in vitro. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from MDS were treated for 15 days with IL-15. This treatment significantly decreased naïve CD4+ (p < 0.001) and CD8+ (p < 0.001) T cells and correspondingly increased terminal memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells (p < 0.001). Treatment with IL-7 increased naïve CD4+ (p < 0.05) and CD8+ (p < 0.001) T cells. Our results indicated that exposure to high levels of IL-15 may be involved in the T cell phenotype conversion observed in MDS. IL-7 may be one of the promising therapeutic candidates for recovering the effector immune compartment in MDS patients.

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