After puberty, the thymus undergoes a dramatic loss in volume, in weight and in the number of thymocytes, a phenomenon termed age-associated thymic involution. Recently, it was reported that age-associated thymic involution did not occur in mice expressing a rearranged transgenic (Tg) TCRαβ receptor. This finding implied that an age-associated defect in TCR rearrangement was the major, if not the only, cause for thymic involution. Here, we examined thymic involution in three other widely used MHC class I- restricted TCRαβ Tg mouse strains and compared it with that in non-Tg mice. In all three TCRαβ Tg strains, as in control mice, thymocyte numbers were reduced by ~90% between 2 and 24 mo of age. The presence or absence of the selecting MHC molecules did not alter this age-associated cell loss. Our results indicate that the expression of a rearranged TCR alone cannot, by itself, prevent thymic involution. Consequently, other presently unknown factors must also contribute to this phenomenon.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy