Medical Definition of IL-2
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.
(12 Dec 1998)
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