Metallophilic macrophages are lacking in the thymus of lymphotoxin-beta receptor-deficient mice.
ABSTRACT Lymphotoxin-beta receptor (LTbetaR) axis plays a crucial role in development and compartmentalization of peripheral lymphatic organs. But, it is also required for the appropriate function and maintenance of structural integrity of the thymus: in LTbetaR-deficient animals the clonal deletion of autoreactive lymphocytes is impaired and differentiation of thymic medullary epithelial cells is disturbed. In this study, using several markers, we showed that thymic metallophilic macrophages were lacking in LTbetaR-deficient mice. In tumor necrosis factor receptor-I (p55)-deficient mice (which we used as positive control) thymic metallophilic cells were located, similarly as in normal mice, in the thymic cortico-medullary zone at the junction of cortex and medulla. These findings show that LTbetaR is necessary for maintenance of metallophilic macrophages in the thymus and provide further evidence that these cells may represent a factor involved in thymic negative selection.
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ABSTRACT: The role of central tolerance induction has recently been revised after the discovery of promiscuous expression of tissue-restricted self-antigens in the thymus. The extent of tissue representation afforded by this mechanism and its cellular and molecular regulation are barely defined. Here we show that medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) are specialized to express a highly diverse set of genes representing essentially all tissues of the body. Most, but not all, of these genes are induced in functionally mature CD80(hi) mTECs. Although the autoimmune regulator (Aire) is responsible for inducing a large portion of this gene pool, numerous tissue-restricted genes are also up-regulated in mature mTECs in the absence of Aire. Promiscuously expressed genes tend to colocalize in clusters in the genome. Analysis of a particular gene locus revealed expression of clustered genes to be contiguous within such a cluster and to encompass both Aire-dependent and -independent genes. A role for epigenetic regulation is furthermore implied by the selective loss of imprinting of the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene in mTECs. Our data document a remarkable cellular and molecular specialization of the thymic stroma in order to mimic the transcriptome of multiple peripheral tissues and, thus, maximize the scope of central self-tolerance.Journal of Experimental Medicine 08/2005; 202(1):33-45. · 13.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mice deficient in LT alpha (LT alpha-/-) lack lymph nodes and Peyer's patches. This action of LT alpha in lymph node organogenesis appears to be mediated by the membrane form of LT using a mechanism independent of TNF receptor I (TNFR-I) or II (TNFR-II). In contrast, normal Peyer's patch development appears to require both LT alpha and TNFR-I, with TNFR-I-/- mice showing hypoplastic Peyer's patch structures. LT alpha-/- mice also fail to support the normal segregation of T-cell and B-cell zones within the splenic white pulp. Again, this occurs via a mechanism independent of TNFR-I or TNFR-II. Additionally, follicular dendritic cell (FDC) clusters or germinal centers fail to develop in the spleen of LT alpha-/- animals. Mice deficient in either TNF alpha or TNFR-I also fail to develop splenic FDC clusters and germinal centers, indicating that signaling by both LT alpha and TNF alpha is required for development of these specialized lymphoid tissue structures. Finally, the splenic white pulp areas in LT alpha-/- mice lack the marginal zone of monoclonal antibody MOMA-1-staining metallophilic macrophages, whereas TNFR-I-deficient mice have preserved MOMA-1 staining. Thus, certain actions of LT alpha to regulate spleen white pulp architecture are mediated by receptors other than TNFR-I, most likely by the LT beta R or a closely related receptor. We tested whether germinal centers are essential for maturation of T-cell-dependent antibody responses. When LT alpha-/- mice were immunized with low doses of NP-ovalbumin (NP-OVA) adsorbed to alum, there was dramatically impaired production of high affinity anti NP IgG; however, after immunization with high doses of NP-OVA adsorbed to alum, LT alpha-/- mice mounted a high affinity NP-specific serum IgG response similar to wild-type mice, all in the absence of germinal centers or clustered FDC. Thus, although germinal centers enhance the processes required for maturation of the humoral immune response, the mechanisms responsible for affinity maturation are not absolutely dependent on the presence of germinal centers.Immunological Reviews 05/1997; 156:137-44. · 12.16 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We describe an in vitro system in which positive selection of developing T cells takes place on defined stromal cell preparations, which include major histocompatibility complex class II+ epithelial cells but exclude cells of bone marrow origin. In this system, maturation of double-positive T cell receptor negative (TCR-), CD4+8+ thymocytes into single-positive TCR+, CD4+ and CD8+ cells takes place together with the development of functional competence. As in vivo, this maturation is associated with the upregulation of TCR levels as cells progress from double-positive to single-positive status. We also show that class II+ epithelial cells in these cultures are less efficient than dendritic cells in mediating the deletion (negative selection) of V beta 8+ cells by the superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B. For the first time, this approach provides a model in which the cellular interactions involved in both positive and negative selection can be studied under controlled in vitro conditions.Journal of Experimental Medicine 10/1992; 176(3):845-53. · 13.21 Impact Factor