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J Immunol January 1, 1986; 136 (2): 412-21.

Analysis of hemopoietic lineage of accessory cells in the developing thymus of Xenopus laevis.

Turpen JB , Smith PB .

The developmental history of accessory cells in the thymus was studied by grafting hemopoietic stem cells into cytogenetically distinct frog embryos (diploid-2N or triploid-3N) before the establishment of circulation and overt differentiation and colonization of the thymus. The DNA content of cortical thymocytes and circulating erythrocytes was quantified by staining with propidium iodide and measuring the amount of red fluorescence emitted by individual nuclei with the use of flow cytometry. Accessory cells from thymic medulla were separated by incubating for 2 hr on glass slides. For comparison, the developmental history of peritoneal macrophages was examined as representative, myeloid-derived phagocytic cells. DNA content of adherent cells was quantified by staining with the DNA-specific Feulgen reaction and measuring light absorption of individual nuclei by microdensitometry. Thymic accessory cells were subdivided into phagocytic and nonphagocytic phenotypes on the basis of latex bead ingestion. Phagocytic cells in the thymus were usually nonspecific esterase positive and phenotypically resembled peritoneal macrophages. Nonphagocytic cells from the thymus were usually esterase negative and had a dendritic morphology characterized by branched cytoplasmic extensions. Nonphagocytic cells were positive for cytoplasmic RNA based on staining with methyl green-pyronin Y. Phagocytic cells from both the thymus and the peritoneal cavity had no levels of cytoplasmic RNA detectable by this method. Analysis of the embryonic derivation of thymic accessory cells, based on the proportion of cells carrying the cytogenetic marker, demonstrated that thymic lymphocytes and thymic accessory cells were a concordant pair of cells, distinct from myeloid-derived erythrocytes and possibly macrophages. These experiments provide circumstantial evidence suggesting thymocytes and thymic accessory cells could arise from a bipotential precursor that diverges into these separate lineages after colonization of the epithelial thymic rudiment during early development.

PubMed ID: 3484489
Article link: J Immunol
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: ces3.4