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Int Immunol. 2003 Jun;15(6):741-9.

Critical function of T cell death-associated gene 8 in glucocorticoid-induced thymocyte apoptosis.

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Division of Molecular Immunology, Institute for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita-15, Nishi-7, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8638, Japan.


Transcriptional expression of a gene or genes is absolutely required for induction of glucocorticoid-induced thymocyte apoptosis. We have previously shown that expression of T cell death-associated gene 8 (TDAG8) is quickly induced exclusively in the thymus after dexamethasone (DEX) treatment. Here, we present data that TDAG8 expression is induced prior to induction of DEX-mediated apoptosis. In contrast, TDAG8 expression in thymocytes was not induced in the process of gamma-irradiation-mediated apoptosis. TDAG8 expression accelerated only DEX-induced, but not TCR-mediated or gamma-irradiation-induced, thymocyte apoptosis in transgenic mice overexpressing TDAG8. Interestingly, these effects were specifically detected in CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive thymocytes. Moreover, activation of caspase-3, -8 and -9 was enhanced in thymocytes of TDAG8 transgenic mice after DEX stimulation. In conclusion, TDAG8 expression is involved in glucocorticoid-induced signals to activate caspase-9, -8 and -3 for subsequent apoptosis induction in CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive thymocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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