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Cell. 1991 Nov 29;67(5):889-99.

bcl-2 transgene inhibits T cell death and perturbs thymic self-censorship.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital Post Office, Victoria, Australia.


Early death is the fate of most developing T lymphocytes. Because bcl-2 can promote cell survival, we tested its impact in mice expressing an E mu-bcl-2 transgene within the T lymphoid compartment. The T cells showed remarkably sustained viability and some spontaneous differentiation in vitro. They also resisted killing by lymphotoxic agents. Although total T cell numbers and the rate of thymic involution were unaltered, the response to immunization was enhanced, consistent with reduced death of activated T cells. No T cells reactive with self-superantigens appeared in the lymph nodes, but an excess was found in the thymus. These observations, together with previous findings on B cells, suggest that modulated bcl-2 expression is a determinant of life and death in normal lymphocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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