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Thymic dendritic cells and T cells develop simultaneously in the thymus from a common precursor population

Nature volume 362, pages 761763 (22 April 1993) | Download Citation

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Abstract

DENDRITIC cells, a minor cell population in lymphoid tissues, are specialized for presentation of antigenic peptides to T lymphocytes1. Thymic dendritic cells are involved in the deletion of self-reactive T lymphocytes2,3. Although all dendritic cells are ultimately of bone-marrow origin4–7, it has not been clear whether thymic dendritic cells are produced in the adult thymus from a precursor cell or whether they migrate there preformed from the periphery. Recently we isolated from adult mouse thymus a population of early T precursors that could still form B lymphocytes, but not erythroid or myeloid cells, when transferred intravenously8,9. Here we show that these thymic lymphoid precursor cells, as well as bone-marrow haematopoietic stem cells, are able to form both dendritic cells and T-cell progeny when transferred into an irradiated thymus. Such linked development may ensure that developing T cells are negatively selected predominantly by self antigens presented on newly formed thymic dendritic cells.

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Author information

Author notes

    • Carlos Ardavin

    Present address: Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Biology, Complutense University, 28040 Madrid, Spain.

    • Ken Shortman

    To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Affiliations

  1. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, PO Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 3050, Australia

    • Carlos Ardavin
    • , Li Wu
    • , Chung-Leung Li
    •  & Ken Shortman

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/362761a0

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