Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 9759858
J. Immunol. 1998 Oct;161(7):3408-15
At inflammatory sites, the number of activated bystander T cells exceeds that of Ag-activated T cells. We investigated whether IL-15, a monocyte-derived cytokine that shares several biologic activities with IL-2, may contribute to bystander T cell activation in the absence of IL-2 and triggering Ag. The addition of IL-15 to cocultures of monocytes and T cells stimulates CD4+ but not CD8+ T cells to produce IFN-gamma. IFN-gamma production requires endogenous IL-12, the production of which in turn is dependent upon CD40/CD154 interactions between CD4+ T cells and monocytes. Indeed, non-TCR-activated CD4+ but not CD8+ T cells express significant levels of CD154. IL-15 may enhance IFN-gamma in this system by up-regulating CD40 expression on monocytes and IL-12Rbeta1 expression on CD4+ T cells. Conversely, using neutralizing anti-IL-15 mAb, we show that the ability of IL-12 to augment IFN-gamma secretion is partly mediated by endogenous IL-15. Finally, in the absence of monocytes, a synergistic effect between exogenous IL-12 and IL-15 is necessary to induce IFN-gamma production by purified CD4+ T cells, while IL-15 alone induces T cell proliferation. It is proposed that this codependence between IL-12 and IL-15 for the activation of inflammatory T cells may be involved in chronic inflammatory disorders that are dominated by a Th1 response. In such a response, a self-perpetuating cycle of inflammation is set forth, because IL-15-stimulated CD4+ T cells may activate monocytes to release IL-12 that synergizes with IL-15 to induce IL-12 response and IFN-gamma production.