, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 167-176

Selective activation of extrathymic T cells in the liver by glycyrrhizin

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Extrathymic pathways for T cell differentiation were recently demonstrated in the liver, intestine and omentum. In this study, glycyrrhizin (GL), a plant extract was investigated as to its effect on extrathymic T cells in the liver of mice. A new method using anti-LFA-1 mAb in conjunction with anti-TCR or -CD3 mAbs to sensitively identify such extrathymic T cells is included. Single injection and repeated injections of GL increased not only the number of total hepatic MNC but also the proportion of intermediate TCR cells, which are extrathymic T cells uniquely seen in the liver. In contrast to other tested reagents (e.g., lymphotoxin and estrogen) that activated the extrathymic T cells and simultaneously induced profound thymic atrophy, GL did not affect regular T cells in the thymus. The present results suggest that the selective activation of extrathymic T cells in the liver might be intimately related to the clinical effects of GL.