Interleukin 7 is also known as IL7, IL-7, and is a hematopoietic growth factor secreted by stromal cells in the red marrow and thymus. It is also produced by keratinocytes, dendritic cells, hepatocytes, neurons, and epithelial cells, but is not produced by lymphocytes. IL-7 stimulates the differentiation of multipotent (pluripotent) hematopoietic stem cells into lymphoid progenitor cells, It also stimulates proliferation of all cells in the lymphoid lineage (B cells, T cells and NK cells). It is important for proliferation during certain stages of B-cell maturation, T and NK cell survival, development and homeostasis. IL-7 is a cytokine important for B and T cell development. This cytokine and the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) form a heterodimer that functions as a pre-pro-B cell growth-stimulating factor. IL-7 binds to the IL-7 receptor, a heterodimer consisting of Interleukin-7 receptor alpha and common gamma chain receptor. Il-7 promotes hematological malignacies (acute lymphoblastic leukemia, T cell lymphoma). Elevated levels of IL-7 have also been detected in the plasma of HIV-infected patients. IL-7 as an immunotherapy agent has been examined in many pre-clinical animal studies and more recently in human clinical trials for various malignancies and during HIV infection. IL-7 could also be beneficial in improving immune recovery after allogenic stem cell transplant.
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