[Biological properties and therapeutic use of interleukin 2 (IL-2)].
A cytokine produced by the subpopulation of activated helper lymphocytes T has been called interleukin-2 (IL-2). The obtaining of recombinant cytokine has facilitated the study of its biological properties and its application in the treatment of certain neoplastic and infectious diseases. IL-2 affects the target cells by means of a receptor of great affinity consisting of three independent chains: alpha, beta, gamma. The cytokine is the most important growth factor of lymphocytes T, conditioning their clonal expansion. Antigen stimulation is the condition for the expression of IL-2 does not, however, affect resting lymphocytes T. The expression of the receptor for this cytokine on NK cells is, however, continuous in character but only a very small percentage of these cells has receptors of great affinity. IL-2 plays a great role in adoptive immunotherapy consisting in intravenous administration of cells with cytotoxic properties. Cells obtained from peripheral blood and grown in vitro are called LAK cells (lymphocyte activated killer cells), while cells obtained from neoplasms and grown in similar conditions are named TIL cells (tumor infiltrated lymphocytes). LAK and TIL cells reveal a similar antineoplastic activity in vivo. At present, however, recombinant IL-2 alone is used more often, either intravenously or subcutaneously. The cytokine is effective in the treatment of patients with disseminate cancer of the kidney and melanoma, and in adjuvant therapy of acute myeloid leukemia. Attempts have been made to apply it in the treatment of AIDS and leprosy. The toxic effect of IL-2 depends on the dose and the mode of administration. In the majority of patients parainfluenza symptoms appear. Most undesirable effects are connected with multisystemic syndrome of capillary vessels hyperpermeability leading to the increased fluid retention into extravascular spaces, oedema, hypotonia and oliguria.