Regulatory T cells control toxicity in a humanized model of IL-2 therapy

Yan Li, Helene Strick-Marchand, Ai Ing Lim, Jiazi Ren, Guillemette Masse-Ranson, Dan Li, Gregory Jouvion, Lars Rogge, Sophie Lucas, Bin Li, James P. Di Santo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


While patient selection and clinical management have reduced high-dose IL-2 (HDIL2) immunotherapy toxicities, the immune mechanisms that underlie HDIL2-induced morbidity remain unclear. Here we show that dose-dependent morbidity and mortality of IL-2 immunotherapy can be modeled in human immune system (HIS) mice. Depletion of human T cell subsets during the HDIL2 treatment reduces toxicity, pointing to the central function of T cells. Preferential expansion of effector T cells secondary to defective suppressive capacity of regulatory T (Treg) cells after HDIL2 therapy further underscores the importance of Treg in the maintenance of immune tolerance. IL-2 toxicity is induced by selective depletion or inhibition of Treg after LDIL2 therapy, and is ameliorated in HDIL2-treated HIS mice receiving the PIM-1 kinase inhibitor, Kaempferol. Modeling IL-2 pathophysiology in HIS mice offers a means to understand the functions of effector and regulatory T cells in immune-mediated toxicities associated with cancer immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1762
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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