Journal of interferon & cytokine research : the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research

High-dose IL-2 induces rapid albumin uptake by endothelial cells through Src-dependent caveolae-mediated endocytosis.

PMID 24963699


High-dose interleukin-2 (HDIL2) treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma is associated with durable responses, but therapy is accompanied by significant toxicity related to vascular leak syndrome (VLS). Currently, the cause of VLS is not well defined; however, based on the role of endothelial cell (EC) permeability in VLS and the commonly observed hypoalbuminemia in patients receiving HDIL2 therapy, we established an in vitro approach utilizing primary human pulmonary microvascular ECs to monitor the effect of HDIL2 therapy on albumin uptake. We found that HDIL2 treatment of ECs results in albumin colocalization with caveolin-1 leading to albumin uptake by ECs. This albumin uptake occurs through caveolae-mediated but not clathrin-mediated endocytosis and is abrogated with inhibition of the Src tyrosine kinase pathway. These findings provide insight into how IL-2 induces VLS and may help identify potential targets for prevention of toxicity without affecting the therapeutic activity of HDIL2.