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      Heterogeneity within medullary-type TCRalphabeta(+)CD3(+)CD4(-)CD8(+) thymocytes in normal mouse thymus.

      International Immunology
      Animals, Antigens, CD3, analysis, Antigens, CD4, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, chemistry, classification, Cell Differentiation, Cortisone, pharmacology, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Immunophenotyping, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta, Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, Thymus Gland, cytology

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          The functional maturation process of medullary-type CD4(-)CD8(+) [CD8 single-positive (SP)] thymocytes remains largely uncharacterized. We describe a phenotypic analysis of CD8 SP medullary-type thymocytes and find a remarkable heterogeneity within this thymic cell population. While mature CD8(+) T cells in the periphery are relatively homogeneous (TCRalphabeta(+)CD3(+)Qa-2(+) HSA(-)3G11(-)6C10(-)CD69(-)), CD8 SP medullary-type thymocytes contain discrete subpopulations that can be identified by differential expression of several cell-surface markers. We have identified at least six discrete subpopulations in the subset of TCRalphabeta(+)CD3(+) CD8 SP cells in the thymus. According to the expressed phenotypes, a linear developmental pathway is predicted among these CD8 SP subpopulations as follows: 6C10(+)CD69(+)HSA(hi)3G11(+)Qa-2(-) --> 6C10(-)CD69(+)HSA(hi/int)3G11(+)Qa-2(-) --> 6C10(-)CD69(-)HSA(int)3G11(+)Qa-2(-) --> 6C10(-)CD69(-)HSA(lo)3G11(+)Qa-2(-) --> 6C10(-)CD69(-)HSA(-/lo)3G11(-)Qa-2(-) --> 6C10(-)CD69(-)HSA(-/lo)3G11(-)Qa-2(+). This study provides a framework for understanding CD8 SP T cell maturation in the thymic medulla.

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