Differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells in irradiated mouse thymic lobes. Kinetics and phenotype of progeny.J Immunol. 1990 Dec 01; 145(11):3661-8.JI
To define cell populations which participate in the very early stages of T cell development in the mouse thymus, we enriched hematopoietic stem cells from mouse bone marrow and injected them into thymic lobes of irradiated Ly-5 congenic recipients. The progeny of the stem cells were identified and their phenotypes were determined by two-color flow cytometry for the expression of various cell surface differentiation Ag during the course of their subsequent intrathymic development. The majority of the differentiation which occurred in the first 10 days after intrathymic cell transfer was myeloid in nature; hence, this study demonstrates that the irradiated thymus is not strictly selective for T cell development. Further, the maximum rate of T cell development was observed after intrathymic injection of 200 stem cells. Donor-derived cells which did not express Ag characteristic of the myeloid lineage could be detected and their phenotypes could be determined by flow cytometry as early as 7 days after intrathymic injection. At this time, the cells were still very similar phenotypically to the bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells. Exceptions to this were the expression of stem cell Ag 2 and a decrease in the level of MHC class I Ag expression. After 9 days, the donor-derived cells expressed high levels of the Thy-1 Ag and proceeded to change in cell surface phenotype as differentiation continued. These cell phenotypes are described for the time frame ending 18 days after injection, when most donor-derived cells were phenotypically small CD4+ CD8+ (double-positive) thymocytes.