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The cytokine IL-7 and its receptor, IL-7R, are critical for T cell and, in the mouse, B cell development, as well as differentiation and survival of naive T cells, and generation and maintenance of memory T cells. They are also required for innate lymphoid cell (ILC) development and maintenance, and consequently for generation of lymphoid structures and barrier defense. Here we discuss the central role of IL-7 and IL-7R in the lymphoid system and highlight the impact of their deregulation, placing a particular emphasis on their 'dark side' as promoters of cancer development. We also explore therapeutic implications and opportunities associated with either positive or negative modulation of the IL-7-IL-7R signaling axis.


João T Barata, Scott K Durum, Benedict Seddon. Flip the coin: IL-7 and IL-7R in health and disease. Nature immunology. 2019 Dec;20(12):1584-1593

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PMID: 31745336

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