IL-2 and IL-4 double knockout mice reject islet allografts: A role for novel T cell growth factors in allograft rejection

Xian Chang Li, Prabir Roy-Chaudhury, Wayne W. Hancock, Roberto Manfro, Martin S. Zand, Yongsheng Li, Xin Xiao Zheng, Peter W. Nickerson, Jurg Steiger, Thomas R. Malek, Terry B. Strom

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88 Scopus citations


T cell growth factors (TCGFs) play a critical role in allograft rejection by promoting the activation and proliferation of alloreactive T cells. To determine whether IL-2 and IL-4 are of quintessential importance in allograft rejection and to identify possible alternative TCGFs, we have bred IL-2(-/-) and IL-4(-/-) double knockout (DKO) mice and studied islet allograft rejection using the DKO mice as allograft recipients. Although mononuclear leukocytes from DKO mice did not mount a proliferative response in vitro in response to anti-CD3 stimulation, crude islet allografts were vigorously rejected by DKO mice (mean survival time 17 ± 7, n = 8) as compared with wild-type controls (mean survival time 13 ± 4, n = 7). Treatment of DKO mice with anti-CD3 or rapamycin markedly prolonged the islet allograft survival. An analysis of intragraft cytokine gene transcripts showed robust expression of IL-7 and IL-15. In contrast, intragraft IL-9 gene transcripts were not detected in either wild-type or DKO mice. Provision of exogenous IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, or IL-15, but not IL-9, supports the proliferation of anti-CD3 activated DKO splenic leukocytes in vitro. Blocking the common γc of IL-2 receptor, a shared essential signaling component by receptors for IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, and IL-15, prolonged the survival of islet allografts in DKO mice. Hence, a T cell dependent allograft rejection enabled by rapamycin-sensitive signals or signals mediated by binding of the γc chain occurs in the absence of both IL-2 and IL-4. Non-T cell-derived TCGFs, especially IL-7 and IL-15, may play an active role in supporting allograft rejection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-896
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes


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