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Semin Immunopathol. 2008 Dec;30(4):411-23. doi: 10.1007/s00281-008-0135-2. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Human intrathymic development: a selective approach.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185, 4 Blok A, 9000, Ghent, Belgium.


Human T lymphocytes can be generated from CD34 progenitor cells from different sources. This can be obtained in an in vivo model wherein human thymic tissue and fetal liver is transplanted in an immunodeficient mouse. However, human T cells are also generated in immunodeficient mice without co-transplantation of human thymus or in in vitro hybrid human-mouse fetal thymus organ culture. This shows that xenogeneic mouse thymus tissue supports human T cell differentiation. Finally, human T cells are generated on co-culture with murine stromal cells that express the Delta-like1 ligand for the Notch receptor. How these different environments influence the human T cell repertoire is reviewed and discussed.

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