Inflammation likely has a role in the early genesis of certain malignancies. Interleukin (IL)-15, a proinflammatory cytokine and growth factor, is required for lymphocyte homeostasis. Intriguingly, the expression of IL-15 protein is tightly controlled by multiple posttranscriptional mechanisms. Here, we engineered a transgenic mouse to overexpress IL-15 by eliminating these posttranscriptional checkpoints. IL-15 transgenic mice have early expansions in natural killer (NK) and CD8+ T lymphocytes. Later, these mice develop fatal lymphocytic leukemia with a T-NK phenotype. These data provide novel evidence that leukemia, like certain other cancers, can arise as the result of chronic stimulation by a proinflammatory cytokine.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Interleukin 15
- Transgenic mice