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Nat Immunol. 2003 Feb;4(2):168-74. Epub 2003 Jan 6.

Thymopoiesis independent of common lymphoid progenitors.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6160, USA.


Early T lineage progenitors (ETPs) in the thymus are thought to develop from common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs) in the bone marrow (BM). We compared thymic ETPs to BM CLPs in mice and found that they differed in several respects. Thymic ETPs were not interleukin 7 (IL-7)-responsive and generated B lineage progeny with delayed kinetics, whereas BM CLPs were IL-7-responsive and rapidly generated B cells. ETPs sustained production of T lineage progeny for longer periods of time than BM CLPs. Analysis of Ikaros-deficient mice that exhibit ongoing thymopoiesis without B lymphopoeisis revealed near-normal frequencies of thymic ETPs, yet undetectable numbers of BM CLPs. We conclude that ETPs can develop via a CLP-independent pathway.

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