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Exp Cell Res. 1992 Feb;198(2):357-61.

The transcription of MyoD1 and myogenin genes in thymic cells in vivo.

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Department of Pathology, University of Western Australia, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, Nedlands.


The skeletal muscle specific genes MyoD1 and myogenin are closely associated with commitment of cells to the myogenic lineage and differentiation of skeletal muscle precursor cells. The transcription of these genes was studied in the thymus where mononuclear cells termed myoid cells appear to closely resemble skeletal muscle precursors. In thymus from adult SJL/J and BALB/c mice, in situ hybridization with either MyoD1 or myogenin riboprobes showed probe-positive cells concentrated in the medullary region. In neonatal thymus, mRNA for these genes was not detected. These data are the first demonstration in a higher vertebrate of MyoD1 and myogenin expression in a tissue other than skeletal muscle. The sustained expression of MyoD1 and myogenin genes in thymi of adult mice shows that myoid cells are not equivalent to quiescent stem cells of mature skeletal muscle. In addition, studies with antistriational antibodies indicate that myoid cells do not continue to differentiate within the normal murine thymic environment. This arrested differentiation process presents an unusual model for investigating conditions regulating myogenesis in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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