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Journal Article

Genetic and non-genetic determinants of thymic epithelial cell number and function

MPS-Authors

Nagakubo,  Daisuke
Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Max Planck Society;
External Organizations;

Krauth,  Brigitte
Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Max Planck Society;

Boehm,  Thomas
Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Nagakubo, D., Krauth, B., & Boehm, T. (2017). Genetic and non-genetic determinants of thymic epithelial cell number and function. Scientific Reports, 7, 10314-10314. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10746-8.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-C1CC-0
Abstract
The thymus is the site of T cell development in vertebrates. In general, the output of T cells is determined by the number of thymic epithelial cells (TECs) and their relative thymopoietic activity. Here, we show that the thymopoietic activity of TECs differs dramatically between individual mouse strains. Moreover, in males of some strains, TECs perform better on a per cell basis than their counterparts in females; in other strains, this situation is reversed. Genetic crosses indicate that TEC numbers and thymopoietic capacity are independently controlled. Long-term analysis of functional parameters of TECs after castration provides evidence that the number of Foxn1-expressing TECs directly correlates with thymopoietic activity. Our study highlights potential complications that can arise when comparing parameters of TEC biology across different genetic backgrounds; these could affect the interpretation of the outcomes of interventions aimed at modulating thymic activity in genetically diverse populations, such as humans.