Spontaneous and homeostatic proliferation of CD4 T cells are regulated by different mechanisms

Booki Min*, Hidehiro Yamane, Jane Hu-Li, William E. Paul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Transfer of naive CD4 T cells into lymphopenic mice initiates a proliferative response of the transferred cells, often referred to as homeostatic proliferation. Careful analysis reveals that some of the transferred cells proliferate rapidly and undergo robust differentiation to memory cells, a process we have designated spontaneous proliferation, and other cells proliferate relatively slowly and show more limited evidence of differentiation. In this study we report that spontaneous proliferation is IL-7 independent, whereas the slow proliferation (referred to as homeostatic proliferation) is IL-7 dependent. Administration of IL-7 induces homeostatic proliferation of naive CD4 T cells even within wild-type recipients. Moreover, the activation/differentiation pattern of the two responses are clearly distinguishable, indicating that different activation mechanisms may be involved. Our results reveal the complexity and heterogeneity of lymphopenia-driven T cell proliferation and suggest that they may have fundamentally distinct roles in the maintenance of CD4 T cell homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6039-6044
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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