Analysis of the adult thymus in reconstitution of T lymphocytes in HIV-1 infection.
A key question in understanding the status of the immune system in HIV-1 infection is whether the adult thymus contributes to reconstitution of peripheral T lymphocytes. We analyzed the thymus in adult patients who died of HIV-1 infection. In addition, we studied the clinical course of HIV-1 infection in three patients thymectomized for myasthenia gravis and determined the effect of antiretroviral therapy on CD4(+) T cells. We found that five of seven patients had thymus tissue at autopsy and that all thymuses identified had inflammatory infiltrates surrounding lymphodepleted thymic epithelium. Two of seven patients also had areas of thymopoiesis; one of these patients had peripheral blood CD4(+) T-cell levels of <50/mm3 for 51 months prior to death. Of three thymectomized patients, one rapidly progressed to AIDS, one progressed to AIDS over seven years (normal progressor), whereas the third remains asymptomatic at least seven years after seroconversion. Both latter patients had rises in peripheral blood CD4(+) T cells after antiretroviral therapy. Most patients who died of complications of HIV-1 infection did not have functional thymus tissue, and when present, thymopoiesis did not prevent prolonged lymphopenia. Thymectomy before HIV-1 infection did not preclude either peripheral CD4(+) T-cell rises or clinical responses after antiretroviral therapy. (+info)
The mouse Aire gene: comparative genomic sequencing, gene organization, and expression.
Mutations in the human AIRE gene (hAIRE) result in the development of an autoimmune disease named APECED (autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy; OMIM 240300). Previously, we have cloned hAIRE and shown that it codes for a putative transcription-associated factor. Here we report the cloning and characterization of Aire, the murine ortholog of hAIRE. Comparative genomic sequencing revealed that the structure of the AIRE gene is highly conserved between human and mouse. The conceptual proteins share 73% homology and feature the same typical functional domains in both species. RT-PCR analysis detected three splice variant isoforms in various mouse tissues, and interestingly one isoform was conserved in human, suggesting potential biological relevance of this product. In situ hybridization on mouse and human histological sections showed that AIRE expression pattern was mainly restricted to a few cells in the thymus, calling for a tissue-specific function of the gene product. (+info)
Diverse developing mouse lineages exhibit high-level c-Myb expression in immature cells and loss of expression upon differentiation.
The c-myb gene encodes a sequence specific transactivator that is required for fetal hematopoiesis, but its potential role in other tissues is less clear because of the early fetal demise of mice with targeted deletions of the c-myb gene and incomplete of knowledge about c-myb's expression pattern. In the hematopoietic system, c-Myb protein acts on target genes whose expression is restricted to individual lineages, despite Myb's presence and role in multiple immature lineages. This suggests that c-Myb actions within different cell type-specific contexts are strongly affected by combinatorial interactions. To consider the possibility of similar c-Myb actions could extend into non-hematopoietic systems in other cell and tissue compartments, we characterized c-myb expression in developing and adult mice using in situ hybridization and correlated this with stage-specific differentiation and mitotic activity. Diverse tissues exhibited strong c-myb expression during development, notably tooth buds, the thyroid primordium, developing trachea and proximal branching airway epithelium, hair follicles, hematopoietic cells, and gastrointestinal crypt epithelial cells. The latter three of these all maintained high expression into adulthood, but with characteristic restriction to immature cell lineages prior to their terminal differentiation. In all sites, during fetal and adult stages, loss of c-Myb expression correlated strikingly with the initiation of terminal differentiation, but not the loss of mitotic activity. Based on these data, we hypothesize that c-Myb's function during cellular differentiation is both an activator of immature gene expression and a suppressor of terminal differentiation in diverse lineages. (+info)
Thymic selection by a single MHC/peptide ligand: autoreactive T cells are low-affinity cells.
In H2-M- mice, the presence of a single peptide, CLIP, bound to MHC class II molecules generates a diverse repertoire of CD4+ cells. In these mice, typical self-peptides are not bound to class II molecules, with the result that a very high proportion of H2-M- CD4+ cells are responsive to the various peptides displayed on normal MHC-compatible APC. We show here, however, that such "self" reactivity is controlled by low-affinity CD4+ cells. These cells give spectacularly high proliferative responses but are virtually unreactive in certain other assays, e.g., skin graft rejection; responses to MHC alloantigens, by contrast, are intense in all assays. Possible explanations for why thymic selection directed to a single peptide curtails self specificity without affecting alloreactivity are discussed. (+info)
Partial purification and properties of porcine thymus lactosylceramide beta-galactosidase.
Porcine thymus lactosylceramide beta-galactosidase was purified by a simple procedure. In the final step of isoelectric focusing the enzyme was separated into two peaks of pI 6.3 (peak I) and 7.0 (peak II), which showed 3,600- and 4,000-fold enhancement of lactosylceramide-hydrolysing activity, respectively. The two peaks had identical mobility on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The apparent molecular weight was 34,000. Neither monosialoganglioside (GM1) nor galactosylceramide was hydrolysed by the purified enzyme fractions. The optimal pH was at 4.6, and sodium taurocholate was essential for the reaction. The apparent Km was 2.3 x 10-5 M. The reaction was stimulated by sodium chloride and linoleic acid, while it was strongly inhibited by Triton X-100 and bovine serum albumin. Galactosylceramide, p-nitrophenyl beta-galactoside, and p-nitrophenol were weak inhibitors. No effects of GM1 and galactose were observed on the hydrolysis of lactosylceramide. (+info)
The effects of a t-allele (tAE5) in the mouse on the lymphoid system and reproduction.
Mice homozygous for tAE5, a recessive allele at the complex T-locus, are characterized by their unique short-tailed phenotype as well as by runting and low fertility. Histological and histochemical studies of the lymphoid and reproductive systems disclosed structural changes in the mutant spleen resembling those found in autoimmune conditions. Involution of the mutant thymus was greatly accelerated compared to normal. Necrotic changes occurred during spermiogenesis whereas ovarian structure was normal in mutants. The possible mechanisms of the mutant effects are discussed in the framework of other similar syndromes and the mode of action of alleles at the complex T-locus. (+info)
Identification of a subpopulation of lymphocytes in human peripheral blood cytotoxic to autologous fibroblasts.
A naturally occurring subpopulation of human peripheral blood lymphocytes is cytotoxic to autologous and/or allogeneic fibroblasts. The autocytotoxic lymphocytes have a receptor for the third component of complement and for aggregated gamma globulin, do not form rosettes with sheep red blood cells, and are not removed by passage through nylon. The autocytotoxic subpopulation is not present in the thymus and tonsils of normal children or in the peripheral blood of individuals with X-linked agammaglobulinemia. Fibroblast absorption experiments demonstrate that the autocytotoxic cells are "sensitized" to antigens expressed on allogeneic fibroblasts in addition to the antigens expressed on autologous cells. Some normal individuals have a second subpopulation of lymphocytes that may "regulate" the autocytotoxic cells. The relevance of these observations to the murine autocytotoxic cells is discussed. (+info)
Antitumor agents. I. Effect of 5-fluorouracil and cyclophosphamide on liver microsomes and thymus of rat.
Effects of antitumor agents on rat liver microsomal drug-metabolizing enzyme activities and thymus lymphocytes were studied in male Wistar rats. High doses of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and cyclophosphamide (CP) given parenterally for 6 days caused a partial decrease in whole body weight and the microsomal enzyme content such as cytochrome P-450 and cytochrome b5. Aniline p-hydroxylase and aminopyrine N-demethylase activities also decreased in rats dosed for 5 days decreased compared with the control. Both compounds in the high concentrations produced spectral change of "modified type II". However, the magnitude of the spectral changes observed was independent of the the concentration of substrate added. The addition of NADPH to the microsomes-substrate mixture modified the spectral change. Both drugs caused a considerable decrease in thymus weight and the number of thymus lymphocytes, while the alkaline phosphatase activity was enhanced in 5-FU groups, indicating that the agents cause a significant involution of the thymus. Decrease in the total number of the lymphocytes was greater than that in the blood leucocytes. (+info)