Human bone marrow and umbilical cord blood cells generate CD4+ and CD8+ single-positive T cells in murine fetal thymus organ culture

Helen Yeoman, Ronald E. Gress, Catherine V. Bare, Anne G. Leary, Edward A. Boyse, Judith Bard, Leonard D. Shultz, David T. Harris, Dominick Deluca

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56 Scopus citations


Murine fetal thymus lobes isolated from both normal and scid/scid mice can be colonized by donor cells from either human bone marrow or human umbilical cord blood in vitro. Subsequent organ culture results in a transient production of a few CD4+ CD8+ (double-positive) cells and then the accumulation of CD4+ or CD8+ (single-positive) T cells. A significant number of immature T-cell intermediates (e.g., CD8low, CD3-/low cells) were present in early organ cultures, suggesting that these were progenitors of the mature CD3+/high single-positive T cells that dominated late cultures. Depletion of mature T cells from the donor-cell populations did not affect their ability to colonize thymus lobes. However, colonization depended on the presence of CD7+ progenitor T cells. Limiting dilution experiments using mature T-cell populations (human peripheral blood leukocytes, human bone marrow cells, and human umbilical cord blood cells) suggested that thymic organ culture supports the growth of progenitor T cells but does not support the growth of mature human T cells. Each of these donor populations produced single-positive populations with different CD4/CD8 ratios, suggesting that precursor cells from different sources differ qualitatively in their capacity to differentiate into T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10778-10782
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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