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      Abnormal Thymic Microenvironment in Insulin-Like Growth Factor-II Transgenic Mice

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          Abstract

          Objectives: Intrathymic T cell differentiation is driven by the thymic microenvironment, a tridimensional network of cells and extracellular matrix (ECM). Previous data showed that lymphoid and microenvironmental compartments are under the control of hormones and growth factors. We then attempted to define if insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) was also involved in such a control. Methods: We used IGF-II transgenic (Tg) mice and studied their thymic microenvironment by immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we evaluated thymocytes in terms of their ability to adhere to thymic epithelial cells and to migrate through epithelial cells and ECM. Results: Transgenic IGF-II expression results in abnormalities of the thymic epithelium. Terminal differentiation of thymic epithelial cells (TEC) is modified, with the appearance of large clusters of cells immunoreactive to the monoclonal antibody KL1, which specifically recognizes highly differentiated TEC. Accordingly, treatment of cultured TEC with exogenous IGF-II induces the appearance of KL1+ cells and increases TEC proliferation. IGF-II Tg animals exhibit increased serum levels of the TEC-derived hormone thymulin. These effects were seen even when the IGF-II transgene was inserted in dwarf mice. Moreover, deposition of fibronectin and laminin is also enhanced in IGF-II Tg mouse thymus and in IGF-II-treated TEC cultures. Furthermore, ECM-mediated interactions between thymocytes and TEC are affected by exogenous IGF-II, as exemplified by the enhancement of thymocyte adhesion to TEC monolayers and thymocyte migration in thymic nurse cell complexes. Conclusions: Our data indicate that IGF-II pleiotropically affects the thymic epithelium, both in vivo and in vitro, and that some of these changes may have consequences on thymocyte/TEC interactions.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Identification and characterization of thymic epithelial progenitor cells.

          T cell differentiation and repertoire selection depend critically on several distinct thymic epithelial cell types, whose lineage relationships are unclear. We have investigated these relationships via functional analysis of the epithelial populations within the thymic primordium. Here, we show that mAbs MTS20 and MTS24 identify a population of cells that, when purified and grafted ectopically, can differentiate into all known thymic epithelial cell types, attract lymphoid progenitors, and support CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell development in nude mice. In contrast, other epithelial populations in the thymic primordium can fulfill none of these functions. These data establish that the MTS20(+)24(+) population is sufficient to generate a functional thymus in vivo and thus argue strongly that all thymic epithelial cell types derive from a common progenitor cell.
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            Intrathymic T-cell migration: a combinatorial interplay of extracellular matrix and chemokines?

            Cell migration is crucial for intrathymic T-cell differentiation. Chemokines and extracellular matrix proteins per se induce thymocyte migration, and recent data suggest a combinatorial role for these molecules in this event. For example, thymocyte migration induced by fibronectin plus CXCL12/SDF1-alpha (stromal cell-derived factor1-alpha) is higher than that elicited by the chemokine alone. If such interactions are relevant in the thymus, abnormal expression of any of these ligands and/or their corresponding receptors will lead to defects in thymocyte migration. At least in the murine model of Chagas disease, this seems to be the case. Therefore a better knowledge of this complex biological circuitry will provide new clues for understanding thymus physiology and designing therapeutic strategies targeting developing T cells.
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              Neuroendocrine Control of Thymus Physiology

               W Savino (2000)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NIM
                Neuroimmunomodulation
                10.1159/issn.1021-7401
                Neuroimmunomodulation
                S. Karger AG
                1021-7401
                1423-0216
                2005
                March 2005
                17 March 2005
                : 12
                : 2
                : 100-112
                Affiliations
                aLaboratory on Thymus Research, Department of Immunology, and bDepartment of Ultrastructure and Cell Biology, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; cCNRS UMR 8147 and Inserm U-344, University Paris V, Hôpital Necker, Paris, France; dMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA; eDepartment of Metabolic and Endocrine Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
                Article
                83582 Neuroimmunomodulation 2005;12:100–112
                10.1159/000083582
                15785112
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 9, References: 26, Pages: 13
                Categories
                Original Paper

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