Differentiation and functional maturation of bone marrow-derived intestinal epithelial T cells expressing membrane T cell receptor in athymic radiation chimeras

R. L. Mosley, D. Styre, J. R. Klein

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142 Scopus citations


The thymus dependency of murine intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) was studied in an athymic F1 → parent radiation chimera model. IEL, although not splenic or lymph node lymphocytes, from athymic chimeras displayed normal levels of cells bearing the class-specific T cell Ag, CD4 and CD8; the TCR-associated molecule, CD3; and the Thy-1 Ag. Moreover, two-color flow cytometric analyses of IEL from athymic mice demonstrated regulated expression of T cell Ag characteristic of IEL subset populations from thymus-bearing mice. In immunoprecipitation experiments, surface TCR-αβ or TCR-γδ were expressed on IEL, although not on splenic lymphocytes from athymic chimeras. That IEL from athymic chimeras constituted a population of functionally mature effector cells activated in situ, similar to IEL from thymus-bearing mice, was demonstrated by the presence of CD3-mediated lytic activity of athymic lethally irradiated bone marrow reconstituted IEL. These data provide compelling evidence that intestinal T cells do not require thymic influence for maturation and development, and demonstrate that the microenvironment of the intestinal epithelium is uniquely adapted to regulate IEL differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1375
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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