International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-017-2386-y Pages: 130-137

Low-dose interleukin-2 as a modulator of Treg homeostasis after HSCT: current understanding and future perspectives

1. Okayama University, Department of Hematology and Oncology

Correspondence to:
Ken-ichi Matsuoka
Tel: +81-86-235-7227



CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg is a functionally distinct subset of mature T cells with broad suppressive activity and has been shown to play an important role in the establishment of immune tolerance after HSCT. Altered cytokine environment in post-HSCT lymphopenia with a relative functional deficiency of IL-2 could hamper the reconstitution of Treg, leading to refractory GVHD. Based on the theory of low-dose IL-2 in which Treg can be selectively stimulated through the high-affinity IL-2 receptor, clinical studies have been conducted and demonstrated that low-dose IL-2 administration can restore Treg homeostasis and promote the expansion of this subset on the polymorphic processes of Treg reconstitution after HSCT. The new therapeutic indication of IL-2 for immune tolerance has launched in the field of HSCT and is spreading to the other fields including the treatment for autoimmune diseases. To further extend the indication of low-dose IL-2 to more patients with various immunological problems, the optimization of the timing and dosing of IL-2 intervention and the concomitant immune suppressive therapy according to each patient-based assessment are to be desired in the near future. Further prospective studies may facilitate the development of novel therapeutic algorithms for the effective and safe induction of immune tolerance after HSCT.

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