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Cell. 1990 Sep 7;62(5):863-74.

A developmental switch in thymic lymphocyte maturation potential occurs at the level of hematopoietic stem cells.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305.


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) isolated from mouse fetal liver, like adult HSCs, are Thy-1lo Lin- Sca-1+. Donor-derived V gamma 3+ T cells were detected in fetal thymic lobes repopulated in vitro with fetal liver HSCs, but not in those with adult bone marrow HSCs. Single clonogenic fetal HSCs gave rise to thymic progeny that include V gamma 3+, other gamma delta+, and alpha beta+ T cells. No V gamma 3+ T cells were detected in adult thymus injected intrathymically with either fetal or adult HSCs. These results support the hypothesis that only fetal HSCs have the capacity to differentiate into V gamma 3+ T cells in the fetal thymic microenvironment and that the developmental potential of HSCs may change during ontogeny.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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