Culture of Mouse Thymic Epithelial Cells and Studies of Age-Related Changes
Evidence accumulating over the last few years strongly suggests a role for epithelial cells of the thymus in the development of the T cell repertoire (1,2), but relatively little is known of the mechanism of this activity. In addition, we know almost nothing on the role and fate of these epithelial cells in thymic involution, a process which results in decreased T cell activity in advanced age. Both lines of research could be advanced by tissue culture of epithelial cells. In mice this objective has been difficult to achieve as attested by the large number of unsuccessful, or complicated and only partially successful reports (3–9), which appeared before this investigation was undertaken. In recent months other procedures have also been published (10–13), and it is now possible to compare the advantages and shortcomings of each. Difficulties have been described especially with advanced donor age, and we sought a novel approach to facilitate cultures from mice of all ages. Thus, we modified a medium known to support growth of hepatic epithelial cells (14), to bring about simultaneous inhibition of fibroblasts (15) which have plagued other culture systems.
KeywordsEvans Blue Thymic Epithelial Cell Donor Mouse Thymic Involution Individual Explants
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