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J Immunol. 1999 Aug 1;163(3):1584-91.

Involvement of distinct cellular compartments in the abnormal lymphoid organogenesis in lymphotoxin-alpha-deficient mice and alymphoplasia (aly) mice defined by the chimeric analysis.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Ehime University, Japan.


Both lymphotoxin-alpha (LTalpha)-deficient mice and alymphoplasia (aly) mice, a natural mutant strain, manifest a quite similar phenotype: lack of lymph nodes (LN) and Peyer's patches (PP), with disturbed spleen architecture. The mechanisms underlying the defective lymphoid organogenesis in these mice were investigated by generating aggregation chimeras; ex vivo fused morulae were implanted into pseudo-pregnant host females and allowed to develop to term. Chimeric mice between LTalpha-deficient mice and wild-type mice restored LN and PP almost completely, suggesting that LTalpha expressed by circulating bone marrow-derived cells is essential for lymphoid organogenesis as well as for organization of spleen architecture. By contrast, chimeric mice between aly mice and wild-type mice showed only limited restoration of LN and PP. This suggests that the putative aly gene product does not act as a circulating ligand for lymphoid organogenesis, like LTalpha. Rather, abnormal development of lymphoid organs in aly mice seems most likely due to the defective development of the incipient stromal cells of the LN and PP. Supporting this hypothesis, up-regulation of VCAM-1 on aly mouse embryonic fibroblasts by signals through LTbetaR, which is exclusively expressed by nonlymphoid cells, was disturbed. These studies demonstrate that LTalpha and the putative aly gene product together control lymphoid organogenesis with a close mechanistic relationship in their biochemical pathways through governing the distinct cellular compartments, the former acting as a circulating ligand and the latter as a LTbetaR-signaling molecule expressed by the stroma of the lymphoid organs.

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