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Recent thymic emigrants are preferentially incorporated only into the depleted T-cell pool.


ABSTRACT: Recent thymic emigrants (RTEs) are the youngest subset of peripheral T cells, and they differ functionally and phenotypically from the rest of the naïve T-cell pool. RTEs are present in the peripheral T-cell pool throughout life but are the most common subset of T cells in neonates and adults recovering from lymphoablation. Using a murine model to study the homeostasis of RTEs, we show that under lymphoreplete conditions, RTEs are at a competitive disadvantage to already established mature naïve (MN) T cells. This disadvantage may be caused by a defect in survival, because RTEs may transduce homeostatic signals inefficiently, and their ability to survive is enhanced with increased expression of IL-7 receptor or B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2). Conversely, under lymphopenic conditions, enhanced proliferation by RTEs allows them to out-compete their MN T-cell counterparts. These results suggest that in times of need, such as in neonates or lymphopenic adults, RTEs perform well to fill the gaps in the peripheral T-cell pool, but when the periphery already is full, many RTEs are not incorporated into the pool of recirculating lymphocytes.

SUBMITTER: Houston EG 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3069187 | BioStudies | 2011-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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