Author(s): Nakamura T, Ikehara S, Good RA, Inoe S, Sekita K,
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Abstract Autoimmune-prone mice show premature thymic involution, including morphological and functional abnormalities. To determine why the thymic abnormalities develop in autoimmune-prone mice, transplantation of the thymus and/or bone marrow was performed. When thymuses of newborn MRL/1 (H-2k) mice were grafted into C3H/HeN nu/nu(H-2k) mice, the engrafted thymuses did not show the abnormalities which characterize the thymus in the autoimmune-prone MRL/1 mice. By contrast, when thymuses of newborn C3H/HeN or MRL/n mice were grafted into MRL/1 mice, the engrafted thymuses developed after an interval of 3 months the same morphological abnormalities as were seen in MRL/1 mice. Thus, we can conclude that premature involution of the thymus in autoimmune-prone mice may not be a genetically determined abnormality intrinsic to the thymus, but rather an abnormality secondary to other events occurring in these mice. When bone marrow of young C3H/HeN nu/nu mice was transplanted into irradiated (850 rad) MRL/1 mice, neither thymic abnormalities nor autoimmune diseases developed. Therefore, it seem likely that abnormal stem cells in autoimmune-prone mice induce thymic abnormalities, and these, in turn, are associated with the development of autoimmune diseases.
This article was published in Thymus
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy