Cytokine 2011 Oct 31;56(1):116-21. Epub 2011 Jul 31.
Department of Pathology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0511, USA.
Regulation of the magnitude and quality of immune responses is dependent on the integration of multiple signals which typically operate through positive and negative feedback loops. Cytokines that promote or limit T cell expansion and differentiation are often both present in the complex lymphoid environment where antigen-initiated T cell responses take place. The nature and strength of the cytokine signal received by the responding cell, as well as by surrounding regulatory cells, will determine the extent of clonal expansion and the progression towards effector and memory cell differentiation. The mechanisms that determine how much cytokine is produced and how cytokine activities are controlled by receptor expression and intracellular regulators of signaling are not fully understood. Here we discuss the opposing functions of two members of the common receptor gamma chain (γc) cytokines, IL-2 and IL-7 in the generation and regulation of immune responses in vivo.