Two Main Features of T-Cell Development: Thymus Traffic and Postthymic Maturation

  • Osias Stutman
Part of the Contemporary Topics in Immunobiology book series (CTI, volume 7)


One of the many reasons for the sustained interest in the ontogeny of T cells in mammals is the expectation that the process of adult differentiation and renewal of T cells should follow the same pathways as the development of the T-cell pool during early embryonation. In general, there is agreement between the major steps of ontogenic development and adult renewal of T cells. In this review, I will discuss two aspects of T-cell development, both of which appear critical for the generation of immunologically competent T cells: (1) the notion that there is further maturation of postthymic precursors in extrathymic lymphoid sites (i.e., the idea that what the thymus exports is not necessarily a fully competent T lymphocyte) and (2) the traffic of cells to and from the thymus (a necessary factor that requires a stream of stem cells derived from hemopoietic sites and an intact thymic stroma). Although there is general agreement that the generation of T cells is strongly thymus-dependent, there are still many unanswered questions concerning the graded steps of this differentiation, even within the intrathymic environment.


Nude Mouse Thoracic Duct Hemopoietic Cell Thymus Cell T6T6 Cell 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Osias Stutman
    • 1
  1. 1.Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer ResearchNew YorkUSA

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