Expression of Receptors for Interleukin 4 and Interleukin 7 on Human T Cells

  • Richard J. Armitage
  • Steven F. Ziegler
  • M. Patricia Beckmann
  • Rejean L. Idzerda
  • Linda S. Park
  • William C. Fanslow
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 292)


Human recombinant interleukin 4 (IL-4) and interleukin 7 (IL-7) have been modified with biotin-N-hydroxysuccinimide and used to examine the expression of human IL-4 and IL-7 receptors (R) on activated peripheral blood T cells by flow cytometry. Freshly isolated T cells expressed only a low level of IL-4R which remained unchanged when cells were cultured in the absence of stimuli. In the presence of IL-4, IL-7, phytohemag-glutinin A (PHA) or immobilized CD3 monoclonal antibody the intensity of biotinylated IL-4 staining increased approximately twofold on the majority of cells. A combination of mitogen with either IL-4 or IL-7 caused a considerable increase in IL-4 receptor expression over that seen in the presence of mitogen alone. IL-2 alone failed to induce IL-4R although it was able to cause a significant increase in receptor expression on T cells co-cultured with PHA or CD3.

Freshly isolated T cells expressed high levels of IL-7R, as determined by biotinylated IL-7 binding and flow cytometry, which did not change significantly with culture in medium alone. Stimulation with PHA, Concanavalin A (Con A) or CD3 had little effect on the intensity of staining. In contrast, activation with phorbol ester resulted in a decrease in IL-7R expression. Similarly, in the presence of IL-4 or IL-7, but not IL-2, the intensity of staining with biotinylated IL-7 was lowered. Analysis of purified T-cell populations showed that IL-7R were present, and IL-4R could be induced, on both CD4+ and CD8+ populations.

Analysis of IL-4 receptor expression by this flow cytometric technique was supported by results from 125I-labeled IL-4 binding and by Northern blot analysis of mRNA levels. Taken together, the results of these studies show that the use of biotinylated cytokines and flow cytometry provides a very sensitive method with which to study the expression and regulation of cytokine receptors.


Mean Fluorescence Intensity Cell Stimulatory Factor Flow Cytometric Technique Murine Lymph Node Real Biological Difference 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Armitage
    • 1
  • Steven F. Ziegler
    • 1
  • M. Patricia Beckmann
    • 1
  • Rejean L. Idzerda
    • 1
  • Linda S. Park
    • 1
  • William C. Fanslow
    • 1
  1. 1.Immunex CorporationSeattleUSA

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