Intrathymic radioresistant stem cells follow an IL-2/IL-2R pathway during thymic regeneration after sublethal irradiation.J Immunol. 1990 May 15; 144(10):3736-40.JI
Sublethally irradiated mice undergo thymic regeneration which follows a phenotypic pattern of events similar to that observed during normal fetal development. Thymic regeneration after irradiation is the product of a limited pool of intrathymic radioresistant stem cells undergoing simultaneous differentiation. We show that in this model of T cell development, thymic regeneration follows a pathway in which the IL-2R is transiently expressed on CD4-/CD8- cells. IL-2R expression occurred during the exponential growth period of thymic regeneration, and IL-2R blocking prevented this explosive growth. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that the IL-2R blockade affected primarily the development of the immature CD3-/CD4-/CD8- (triple negative) cells and their ability to generate CD3+/CD4+/CD8+ or CD3+/CD4+/CD8- and CD3+/CD4-/CD8+ thymocytes. Thus, our findings demonstrate that blocking of the IL-2R resulted in an arrest in proliferation and differentiation by intrathymic radioresistant stem cells, indicating that the IL-2/IL-2R pathway is necessary for the expansion of immature triple negative T cells.