The putative effects of interleukin (IL)-7, operating in the context of extracellular matrix (ECM), on the adhesion of human T cells were examined. Recombinant human IL-7 was found to bind ECM or fibronectin (FN) with IC50 values of 10-100 nM. Nanogram amounts of both soluble and, especially, FN- or ECM-bound IL-7, which differentially affected the morphologies of FN-adherent T cells, induced the adhesion of resting CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in dose-dependent and β1 integrin-dependent manners. Under static and flow conditions, soluble IL-7 also induced the binding of unstimulated T cells to vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, suggesting that this cytokine can also modulate integrin binding to endothelial cell ligands. The effects of affinity modulation by IL-7 of FN-specific β1 integrins depend on the presence of soluble FN, which inhibited T cell adhesion to FN induced by FN-bound IL-7 or by an integrin-specific affinity-modulating monoclonal antibody, but not by soluble IL-7 or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. These findings provide an example of a major ECM integrin ligand, FN, which is capable of modulating its adhesive interactions with specific immune cells by associating with and presenting a cytokine in a bio-active state.
- Blood vessel walls