Cytokine mediated inhibition of apoptosis in non-transformed T cells and neutrophils can be dissociated from PKB/AKT activation

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In the absence of survival-inducing cytokines activated T cells and neutrophils enter apoptosis spontaneously. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3 K) activation and signaling through PKB/AKT have been widely linked to the inhibition of apoptosis by cytokines. Here we have investigated the role of PKB in the inhibition of spontaneous apoptosis of activated human CD4(+) T cells and neutrophils. We used a range of cytokines known to induce survival and/or activation of PKB. We found activation of PKB in T cells treated with IL-2 and insulin, and neutrophils cultured with N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP), insulin or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Insulin did not inhibit apoptosis in neutrophils or T cells and fMLP did not delay neutrophil apoptosis. Intriguingly, IFN-beta induced PI3 K-dependent survival in both cell types, but did not activate PKB. IL-2 mediated rescue of T cells from apoptosis but no induction of proliferation occurred in the presence of LY294002, an inhibitor of PI3 K, which also blocked subsequent PKB activation. The main role of PI3 K in IL-2-mediated signaling may therefore be in the regulation of proliferation. These findings suggest that activation of PKB and inhibition of apoptosis can be dissociated in cytokine-mediated rescue of non-transformed CD4(+) T cells and neutrophils.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-493
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2002


  • protein kinase B, apoptosis, AKT, granulocyte, interferon