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Eur J Immunol. 2012 Oct;42(10):2644-54. doi: 10.1002/eji.201242408. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

MCP-1/CCR2 interactions direct migration of peripheral B and T lymphocytes to the thymus during acute infectious/inflammatory processes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, NIH, Frederick, MD, USA.


Mature lymphocyte immigration into the thymus has been documented in mouse, rat, and pig models, and highly increases when cells acquire an activated phenotype. Entrance of peripheral B and T cells into the thymus has been described in healthy and pathological situations. However, it has not been proposed that leukocyte recirculation to the thymus could be a common feature occurring during the early phase of a Th1 inflammatory/infectious process when a large number of peripheral cells acquire an activated phenotype and the cellularity of the thymus is seriously compromised. The data we present here demonstrate that in well-established Th1 models triggered by different types of immunogens, for example, LPS treatment (a bacterial product), Candida albicans infection (a fungus), and after Trypanosoma cruzi infection (a parasite), a large number of mature peripheral B and T cells enter the thymus. This effect is dependent on, but not exclusive of, the available space in the thymus. Our data also demonstrate that MCP-1/CCR2 (where MCP-1 is monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) interaction is responsible for the infiltration of peripheral cells to the thymus in these Th1-inflammatory/infectious situations. Finally, systemic expression of IL-12 and IL-18 produced during the inflammatory process is ultimately responsible for these migratory events.

© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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