Idiopathic CD4 lymphopenia (ICL) is a rare syndrome defined by low CD4 T-cell counts (<300/mL) without evidence of HIV infection or other known cause of immunodeficiency. ICL confers an increased risk of opportunistic infections and has no established treatment. Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is fundamental for thymopoiesis, T-cell homeostasis, and survival of mature T cells, which provides a rationale for its potential use as an immunotherapeutic agent for ICL. We performed an open-label phase 1/2A doseescalation trial of 3 subcutaneous doses of recombinant human IL-7 (rhIL-7) per week in patients with ICL who were at risk of disease progression. The primary objectives of the study were to assess safety and the immunomodulatory effects of rhIL-7 in ICL patients. Injection site reactions were the most frequently reported adverse events. One patient experienced a hypersensitivity reaction and developed non-neutralizing anti-IL-7 antibodies. Patients with autoimmune diseases that required systemic therapy at screening were excluded from the study; however, 1 participant developed systemic lupus erythematosus while on study and was excluded from further rhIL-7 dosing. Quantitatively, rhIL-7 led to an increase in the number of circulating CD4 and CD8 T cells and tissue-resident CD3 T cells in the gut mucosa and bone marrow. Functionally, these T cells were capable of producing cytokines after mitogenic stimulation. rhIL-7 was well tolerated at biologically active doses andmay represent a promising therapeutic intervention in ICL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology