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The effects of interleukin 7 (IL7) previously known as murine pre-B cell growth factor/lymphopoietin 1 on the growth of murine thymocytes was investigated. In the presence of a suboptimal dose of phytohemagglutinin, IL7 induced a dose-dependent increase in thymocyte proliferation which was comparable to that induced by IL1. Additionally IL7 was shown to synergize with a suboptimal dose of IL1 to enhance thymocyte proliferation. Thymocyte proliferation induced by IL7, like that induced by IL1, was inhibited when either recombinant transforming growth factor (TGF) beta 1 or beta 2 were added at the initiation of culture. Interestingly, IL7-driven thymocyte proliferation was considerably less susceptible to inhibition by TGF-beta 1 or TGF-beta 2 than that induced by IL1. Taken together these results suggest IL7 may activate distinct populations of thymocytes and/or act through a pathway distinct from that utilized by IL1.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Immunol

Publication Date





783 - 786


Animals, Cell Division, Drug Synergism, In Vitro Techniques, Interleukin-1, Interleukin-7, Interleukins, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Mice, Inbred CBA, T-Lymphocytes, Thymus Gland, Transforming Growth Factors