UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Diabetes Division

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Bone Marrow Transplantation; *CD4-CD8 Ratio; Cell Count; Dexamethasone; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Mice, Mutant Strains; Thymus Gland


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Mice homozygous for the viable motheaten (me(v)) allele manifest abnormalities in thymocytopoiesis, are severely immunodeficient, and develop autoimmune disorders early in life. Premature thymic involution occurs in me(v)/me(v) mice, and their bone marrow prothymocytes are unable to repopulate the thymus of adoptive recipients following intravenous (i.v.) transfer. However, analysis of thymocytopoiesis following intrathymic (i.t.) adoptive transfer of bone marrow from me(v)/me(v) mice demonstrates the presence of normal numbers of prothymocytes. To investigate intrathymic development in me(v)/me(v) mice, we determined intrathymic precursor cell number and activity. Dual labeling analyses showed that an involuted me(v)/me(v) thymus is relatively enriched (fivefold) in CD4-CD8- thymocytes (intrathymic precursor phenotype) compared with wild-type (+/+) thymus. However, thymocytes from me(v)/me(v) mice were deficient in precursor activity when adoptively transferred i.t. into irradiated recipients. Thymocytes recovered from the involuted thymus of aged or steroid-treated normal mice also displayed reduced precursor activity. However, the phenotypic profile of thymocyte subsets from steroid-treated mice was enriched in single positive cells (mature phenotype) and was distinctly different from the subset distribution of thymocytes in me(v)/me(v) and aged mice. These results suggest that intrathymic precursor activity in me(v)/me(v) mice is decreased, and may be reflective of decreased prothymocyte seeding to the thymus in vivo. In addition, the results suggest that the thymic involution in me(v)/me(v) mice is not due solely to effects of corticosteroids.


Dev Immunol. 1992;2(3):191-205.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Developmental immunology

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PubMed ID