interleukin-2medical dictionary


A hormone-like substance released by stimulated T lymphocytes, causes activation and differentiation of other T lymphocytes independently of antigen.

A type of interleukin, a chemical messenger, a substance that can improve the body's response to disease. It stimulates the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system.

It is secreted by Thl CD4 cells to stimulate CD8 cytotoxic T-1yrnphocytes. Interleukin 2 also increases the proliferation and maturation of the CD4 cells themselves. During HIV infection, Interleukin-2 production gradually declines.

Use of interleukin 2 therapy is under study as a way to raise CD4 cell counts and restore immune function.

Acronym: IL-2

(12 Dec 1998)