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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Delineation of chicken thymocytes by CD3-TCR complex, CD4 and CD8 antigen expression reveals phylogenically conserved and novel thymocyte subsets.

To further define the relationship between thymocyte subsets and their developmental sequence, multi-parameter flow cytometry was used to determine the distribution of the CD3-TCR complex and the accessory molecules CD4 and CD8 on chicken thymocytes. As in mammals, adult thymocytes could be subdivided into CD3-, CD3lo, and CD3hi staining populations. CD4 and CD8 distribution on such populations revealed the presence of CD3-CD4+CD8- and CD3-CD4-CD8+ thymocytes, putative precursors to CD4+CD8+ cells, detectable in the adult and at high frequency during ontogeny. Of particular interest was the existence of CD3lo expression on CD4+CD8- and CD4-CD8+, and in some instances, on CD4-CD8- thymocytes. Such phenotypes are not easily detectable in the mammalian thymus but were readily observed in both adult and embryonic chicken thymus from 16 days of embryogenesis. Further analysis of the TCR lineage of these CD3lo cells revealed that they were essentially all of the alpha beta TCR type. Mature CD3hi thymocytes were found within the CD4+CD8+ and CD4+CD8- and CD4-CD8+ subsets. Both alpha beta and gamma delta TCR lineage thymocytes were detected within all CD4- and CD8-defined subsets, thus identifying novel thymocyte subsets in the chicken thymus, namely alpha beta TCR+CD4-CD8- and gamma delta TCR+ CD4+CD8- cells. Hence, this analysis of chicken thymocytes, while confirming the phylogenically conserved nature of the thymus, has revealed novel T cell subsets, providing further insight into the complexity of mainstream thymocyte maturation pathways.[1]


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