Allogeneic Cultured Thymic Fragments in Congenitally Athymic (NUDE) Rats
Culture of small thymic expiants yields fragments depleted of lymphocytes which consist of epithelial-like cells and connective tissue components (1). Such cultured thymic fragments (CTF) induce the development of thymus-dependent immunity when transplanted under the kidney capsule of congenitally athymic animals (1–3). After implantation, CTF become populated with lymphoid elements and regain their original thymus architecture. We (3) and others (2,4) have documented that both syngeneic and allogeneic CTF are effective in this respect. This phenomenon enables to study the impact of the MHC haplotype of CTF on T-cell immunity generated after implantation, especially aspects as allo-antigen recognition repertoire, self-MHC restriction specificity, and self-MHC tolerance. In this respect, the role of distinct stromal components in the thymus is subject of continuing discussion, especially the discrimination between the epithelial reticulum and medullary dendritic cells (5–9).
KeywordsNormal Thymus Mixed Leukocyte Reaction Connective Tissue Component Thymus Medulla Lymphoid Element
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