IL-2 is a hallmark cytokine secreted by central memory CD4+ T cells (TCM). Although naive cells rapidly secrete IL-2 in response to Ag stimulation, IL-12 inhibits IL-2 secretion in daughter cells as they differentiate into Th1 cells. In this study, we uncover a unique role for IFN-α in regulating IL-2 secretion by human TCM cells. IFN-α synergized with IL-12 to enhance a subset of cells that secreted high and sustained levels of IL-2. These IL-2-secreting cells displayed phenotypic and functional characteristics of TCM and were capable of generating IFN-γ-secreting effectors upon secondary activation. Tbet has been implicated in negatively regulating IL-2 secretion in murine T cells; however, T-bet expression did not inhibit IFN-α-dependent IL-2 secretion in human TCM cells. Thus, our results highlight a unique role for IFN-α in regulating the development of IL-2-secreting human TCM cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy