Developmental potential of CD4-8- thymocytes. Peripheral progeny include mature CD4-8- T cells bearing αβ T cell receptor

C. J. Guidos, I. L. Weissman, B. Adkins

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73 Scopus citations


We have used the intra-thymic transfer system to investigate the population dynamics of thymocyte and mature T cell subsets in the absence of continuing precursor input from the bone marrow. We have followed the development and life span of CD4+ and CD8+ thymocyte subsets and mature peripheral T cells from intra-thymically injected adult or fetal CD4-8- thymic precursors. both precursor types proliferated, differentiated, and exported to peripheral lymphoid tissues αβ-TCR+CD4+8- and CD4-8+ progeny which formed a stable, long-lived component of the peripheral T cell pool. The production of phenotypically mature thymocytes and peripheral T cells occurred more rapidly from fetal CD4-8- precursors. CD4+8-:CD4-8+ ratios among peripheral progeny of intra-thymically-injected CD4-8- precursors were initially normal, but they steadily declined among progeny of the fetal precursors. Thus, there appear to be differences in the life span and/or proliferative capacity of mature T cells derived from embryonic vs adult progenitors. In addition to the predominant CD4+8- and CD48+ subsets of peripheral T cells, a minor (1 to 20%) population of Thy-1+CD3+4-8- T cells was identified among peripheral progeny of intra-thymically-injected CD4-8- thymocytes, as well as in lymph nodes of unmanipulated animals. A total of 20 to 34% of this subset expressed V(β8)+ TCR and the majority were CD5(hi), Pgp-1+, and J11d-. The function and specificity of this newly identified population of thymically derived peripheral T cells remains to be investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3773-3780
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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