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Immunity. 1994 Dec;1(9):733-9.

Interactions between stem cell factor and c-Kit are required for intestinal immune system homeostasis.

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Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030.


Interactions between stem cell factor (SCF) and its receptor, c-Kit, are important for development of hematopoietic, melanocytes, and germ cells. T lymphocytes appeared normal in c-Kit (W/Wv) or SCF (SI/SId) mutant mice, except for those residing within the intestinal epithelium, the intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL). Normally, IEL are composed of equal numbers of cells with alpha beta or gamma delta T cell receptors. In mutant mice, beginning at 6-8 weeks of age, the number of gamma delta IEL decreased, whereas alpha beta IEL increased. The latter was due largely to an increased CD4+ CD8+ TCR alpha beta subset, suggesting that these cells may be intermediates in the alpha beta IEL lineage. c-Kit or SCF was expressed by IEL or intestinal epithelial cells, respectively, indicating a potential for direct intercellular interaction. This possibility was supported by reconstitution studies that demonstrated that c-Kit mutations directly affected IEL. Thus, SCF-c-Kit interactions are important for homeostasis of the intestinal immune compartment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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