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J Immunol. 2011 Jul 1;187(1):291-7. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1100528. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Signal regulatory protein α regulates the homeostasis of T lymphocytes in the spleen.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biosignal Sciences, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma University, Gunma 371-8512, Japan.


The molecular basis for formation of lymphoid follicle and its homeostasis in the secondary lymphoid organs remains unclear. Signal regulatory protein α (SIRPα), an Ig superfamily protein that is predominantly expressed in dendritic cells or macrophages, mediates cell-cell signaling by interacting with CD47, another Ig superfamily protein. In this study, we show that the size of the T cell zone as well as the number of CD4(+) T cells were markedly reduced in the spleen of mice bearing a mutant (MT) SIRPα that lacks the cytoplasmic region compared with those of wild-type mice. In addition, the expression of CCL19 and CCL21, as well as of IL-7, which are thought to be important for development or homeostasis of the T cell zone, was markedly decreased in the spleen of SIRPα MT mice. By the use of bone marrow chimera, we found that hematopoietic SIRPα is important for development of the T cell zone as well as the expression of CCL19 and CCL21 in the spleen. The expression of lymphotoxin and its receptor, lymphotoxin β receptor, as well as the in vivo response to lymphotoxin β receptor stimulation were also decreased in the spleen of SIRPα MT mice. CD47-deficient mice also manifested phenotypes similar to SIRPα MT mice. These data suggest that SIRPα as well as its ligand CD47 are thus essential for steady-state homeostasis of T cells in the spleen.

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