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

Changes in thymocyte proliferation at different stages of viral leukemogenesis in AKR mice.

Proliferation in total populations of thymocytes from control AKR mice or AKR mice injected intrathymically with MCF 69L1 virus was measured by flow cytometry of acridine orange-stained cells. Cell sorting experiments showed that the majority subpopulations of small cortical and medullary thymocytes in control mice were noncycling and were predominantly in the Go phase of the cell cycle. Of the 15 to 20% cycling thymic lymphoblasts, approximately 50% were in the G1 phase, 35% were in the S phase, and 15% were in the G2 + M phases of the cell cycle. Cycling cells appeared to consist of a major subpopulation with low RNA content and a minority subpopulation with high RNA content. In virus-injected mice, no changes in cell cycling were observed at stage I of leukemogenesis (30 to 40 days postinjection), at which time infection of thymocytes by MCF virus is maximum and constant but no clonality is evident. Thus, MCF virus infection of thymocytes per se does not appear to alter cell proliferation. Increased cell cycling and a shift in cell cycle distribution to more cells in G1 was observed at stage II of leukemogenesis (50 to 60 days postinjection), at which time a clonally expanded cell population is known to emerge in thymuses of injected mice. Acridine orange staining resolved these novel cycling cells from subpopulations of normal thymic lymphoblasts on the basis of intermediate RNA content. The transition from stage II to stage III (50 to 60 days postinjection) was accompanied by the outgrowth of a major cycling population with a distinct, often increased, RNA content. As a result, the residual "normal" background of cycling cells often observed in stage II was markedly reduced or completely absent by stage III. Populations of cycling blasts from mice with frank leukemia differed from those at stage III by a variability in mean RNA content and in cell cycle distribution indicative of individual tumor heterogeneity. In addition, thymomas often contained multiple populations of cycling blasts that could be resolved by their discrete RNA distributions. Simultaneous staining of DNA and RNA by acridine orange appears particularly well-suited for studying a heterogeneous population of cycling and noncycling cells represented by mouse thymus. This method has permitted a rapid and quantitative analysis of cell cycle parameters at progressive stages of viral leukemogenesis in AKR mice.[1]


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