Interleukin 2, an immunoregulatory hormone: biology and clinical implications Academic Article uri icon


  • Interleukin 2 (IL-2), a glycoprotein hormone originally termed T cell growth factor, plays a key role in the regulation of immune responses, and has considerable immunotherapeutic potential. The discovery of IL-2 in 1976 resulted from the demonstration that culture supernatants of lectin-stimulated mononuclear cells could support the continuous, exponential growth of lectin-activated human T lymphocytes (8). This finding made possible the establishment of antigen-specific, cloned T cell lines with helper and cytolytic functions. Based on the absolute requirement for IL-2 in the proliferation of cytolytic T cells, a rapid and sensitive semiquantitative bioassay was developed in which the uptake of radioactive DNA precursors (a measurement of cell replication) by the indicator T cells is quantitated in the presence of serial dilutions of IL-2 (6). As shown in Figure 1, IL-2 production by a T cell …

publication date

  • January 1, 1986