Impaired survival of T cell receptor Vγ3+ cells in interleukin-4 transgenic mice

Authors

  • Klaus Joseph Erb,

    1. Institute of Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
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  • Thomas Hanke,

    1. Institute of Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
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  • Anneliese Schimpl,

    1. Institute of Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
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  • Thomas Hünig,

    1. Institute of Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
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  • Georg Stingi,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases, University of Vienna Medical School, VIRCC, Vienna, Austria
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  • Adelheid Elbe

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Dermatology, Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases, University of Vienna Medical School, VIRCC, Vienna, Austria
    • Department of Dermatology, Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases, University of Vienna Medical School, VIRCC, Brunner Str. 59, A-1235 Vienna, Austria (Fax: +43-1-86 63 43 39)
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Abstract

The mouse epidermis contains a network of Thy-1+ dendritic T cells. Most of these cells express a homogeneous T cell receptor (TCR) configuration (Vγ3/ Vδ1) with only negligible junctional diversity. Because fetal thymocytes are precursors of these dendritic epidermal T cells (DETC) and the addition of interleukin (IL)-4 to fetal thymic organ cultures causes an early arrest in thymopoiesis, we examined DETC development in transgenic (tg) mice expressing IL-4 under the control of major histocompatibility complex class I regulatory sequences. Immunohistologic examination of epidermal sheets and polymerase chain reaction analysis of total skin RNA from IL-4 tg mice failed to reveal TCR Vγ3+ DETC and Vγ3 mRNA, respectively. In contrast, the sizes of TCR γδ subpopulations in lymphoid organs were unchanged in these mice. Although the numbers and staining intensities of TCR Vγ3+ thymocytes in early fetal (days 14–17) IL-4 tg mice were similar to those of littermate controls, we observed a preferential death of these cells in thymic organ cultures from IL-4 tg mice. We observed further that epidermal sheets prepared from 9-day-old mice whose mothers had been treated with an IL-4-neutralizing antibody from day 12 to day 18 of pregnancy contained DETC numbers similar to those of controls. However, upon termination of the anti-IL-4 treatment, DETC ceased to expand. We conclude that IL-4 impairs the survival of TCR Vγ3+ cells.

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