Author(s): King LE, OsatiAshtiani F, Fraker PJ
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Lymphopenia is a characteristic of zinc deficiency, which is associated with massive loss of pre-B and pre-T cells from the primary lymphoid organs of zinc-deficient mice that have elevated serum corticosterone (CS). We examined whether this naturally elevated glucocorticoid level is associated with increased apoptotic loss of pre-T cells in the thymus of A/J and CAF1/J mice. In three experiments, partially atrophied thymuses were removed from 20 marginally zinc-deficient (ZD) young adult mice and cultured for 6 h in parallel with thymocytes prepared from 17 adequately fed mice. Thymocyte immunophenotyping combined with flow cytometric cell cycle analysis was used to identify the degree of apoptotic cell death among thymocytes of the two dietary groups, which were compared in the absence of in vivo phagocytosis. Apoptosis was enhanced 50-300\% among pre-T cells (CD4+CD8+) prepared from ZD mice. This resulted in a 38\% shrinkage of the thymic pre-T cell compartment, which was associated with an 80\% decrease in thymic cell number. Pro-T cells (CD4-CD8-) and mature T cells (CD4+CD8-, CD4-CD8+), which express higher levels of Bcl-2 protein, survived ZD to a greater extent and formed a greater proportion of the remaining thymocyte population in ZD mice. Collectively, these data show that heightened degrees of apoptotic cell death induced in vivo by CS-disrupted thymic T cell lymphopoiesis, identifies the means of disruption of marrow B cell lymphopoiesis and explains the appearance of lymphopenia.
This article was published in J Nutr
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research