, Volume 137, Issue 10, pp 1581-1585
Date: 05 Aug 2011

Introduction of pro-interleukin-16 inhibits T-lymphoblastic leukemia growth in mice

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Pro-interleukin-16 (pro-IL-16) is the precursor to mature interleukin-16 (IL-16) protein. Previous studies have demonstrated that pro-IL-16 can function as a regulator of cell cycle. A number of human T-cell leukemia and lymphoma cell lines are pro-IL-16 deficient. Intracellular expression of pro-IL-16 causes these cell lines to become quiescent, implicating loss of pro-IL-16 as a contributory step in T-cell malignancy. Therefore, we tested whether or not reintroduction of pro-IL-16 into solid tumors in mice could halt tumor growth.


MOLT-4 lymphoblastic leukemia cells were stably transfected with a dsRed-tomato virus and were injected subcutaneously into NOD/SCID/γ chain-knockout mice. Tumor growth was monitored with an in vivo imaging system. A pro-IL-16-GFP fusion virus or control GFP only virus was injected into the tumors, and mice were monitored for 1 week.


Injection of the pro-IL-16-containing lentivirus inhibited growth of established MOLT-4 tumors in mice. Tumor explants exhibited diminished proliferative capacity.


Our data support the concept that restoration of pro-IL-16 expression in malignant T cells may have therapeutic value.

Whole-body animal imaging was acquired using equipment maintained by the Boston University Medical Campus Animal Imaging Core Facilities. All flow cytometric data were acquired using equipment maintained by the Boston University Medical Campus Flow Cytometry Core Facilities.