Administration of interleukin-7 after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation improves immune reconstitution without aggravating graft-versus-host disease Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Graft vs Host Disease
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Transplantation Immunology


  • Prolonged immunodeficiency after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) causes significant morbidity and mortality from infection. This study examined in murine models the effects of interleukin-7 (IL-7) given to young and middle-aged (9-month-old) recipients of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-matched or -mismatched allogeneic BMT. Although administration of IL-7 from day 0 to 14 after syngeneic BMT promoted lymphoid reconstitution, this regimen was ineffective after allogeneic BMT. However, IL-7 administration from day 14 (or 21) to 27 after allogeneic BMT accelerated restoration of the major lymphoid cell populations even in middle-aged recipients. This regimen significantly expanded donor-derived thymocytes and peripheral T cells, B-lineage cells in bone marrow and spleen, splenic natural killer (NK) cells, NK T cells, and monocytes and macrophages. Interestingly, although recipients treated with IL-7 had significant increases in CD4(+) and CD8(+) memory T-cell populations, increases in naive T cells were less profound. Most notable, however, were the observations that IL-7 treatment did not exacerbate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in recipients of an MHC-matched BMT, and would ameliorate GVHD in recipients of a MHC-mismatched BMT. Nonetheless, graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) activity (measured against 32Dp210 leukemia) remained intact. Although activated and memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells normally express high levels of IL-7 receptor (IL-7R, CD127), activated and memory alloreactive donor-derived T cells from recipients of allogeneic BMT expressed little IL-7R. This might explain the failure of IL-7 administration to exacerbate GVHD. In conclusion, posttransplant IL-7 administration to recipients of an allogeneic BMT enhances lymphoid reconstitution without aggravating GVHD while preserving GVL.

publication date

  • October 2001



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1182/blood.V98.7.2256

PubMed ID

  • 11568014

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2256

end page

  • 65


  • 98


  • 7