Document Detail

Extrathymic pathways of T-cell differentiation and immunomodulation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11460307     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
It is well established that the thymus is an essential organ for the support of T-cell differentiation. However, some T cells, termed extrathymic T cells, have been found to differentiate without such support by the thymus. The major sites of these T cells are the intestine and liver. Subsequent studies have revealed that extrathymic T cells are also present in the uterus and exocrine glands (e.g., the salivary gland). Depending on the sites, extrathymic T cells have some distinct properties as well as some common properties. For example, all extrathymic T cells have a TCR-CD3 complex similar to thymus-derived T cells. Extrathymic T cells comprise both alpha beta T cells and gamma delta T cells. Although extrathymic T cells are very few in number at any extrathymic sites in youth, they increase in number as a function of age. This phenomenon seems to occur in parallel with thymic involution. Even in youth, extrathymic T cells are activated in number and function by stress, in autoimmune diseases, and during pregnancy. Acute thymic atrophy always accompanies this activation. Therefore, reciprocal regulation between extrathymic T cells and thymus-derived T cells might be present. We hypothesize that extrathymic T cells are intimately associated with innate immunity and that the mechanisms underlying autoimmune diseases and intracellular infection (e.g., malaria) cannot be properly understood without introducing the concept of extrathymic T cells.
T Abo
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  International immunopharmacology     Volume:  1     ISSN:  1567-5769     ISO Abbreviation:  Int. Immunopharmacol.     Publication Date:  2001 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-07-19     Completed Date:  2001-12-12     Revised Date:  2005-11-16    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100965259     Medline TA:  Int Immunopharmacol     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1261-73     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Immunology, Niigata University School of Medicine, Niigata 951-8510, Japan.
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MeSH Terms
Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
Cell Differentiation
T-Lymphocytes / immunology*,  physiology*
Thymus Gland / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Adjuvants, Immunologic

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