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Eur J Immunol. 1994 May;24(5):1223-7.

Differential contribution of thymic outputs and peripheral expansion in the development of peripheral T cell pools.

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Unité d'Immunobiologie, CNRS URA 359, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


The number of peripheral T cells in mice increases up to 100-fold in the first few weeks of life. We have followed the fate of Thy-1 congenic T cells transferred into newborn recipients, to evaluate the relative contribution of thymic output versus peripheral expansion in the constitution of peripheral T cell pools during post-natal development. The results show that in normal animals there is essentially no peripheral expansion of T cells, which show slow turnover rates (1 to 2 months) along that time period. The rates of cell accumulation in the periphery require, therefore, an average of 1 x 10(6)-2 x 10(6) mature thymic emigrants/day for the first 3 weeks of life.

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