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Int Immunol. 1996 May;8(5):773-80.

Developmentally regulated expression of the PD-1 protein on the surface of double-negative (CD4-CD8-) thymocytes.

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Department of Medical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.


PD-1, a member of the Ig superfamily, was previously isolated from an apoptosis-induced T cell hybridoma 2B4.11 by subtractive hybridization. Expresson of the PD-1 mRNA is restricted to thymus in adult mice. Using an anti-PD-1 mAb (J43), we examined expression of the PD-1 protein during differentiation of thymocytes in normal adult, fetal and RAG-2(-/-) mice with or without anti-CD3 mAb stimulation. While PD-1 was expressed only on 3-5% of total normal thymocytes, approximately 34% of the CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative (DN) fraction are PD-1(+) cells with two distinct expression levels (low and high). PD-1(high) thymocytes belonged to TCR gammadelta lineage cells. In the DN compartment of the TCR alphabeta lineage, PD-1 expression started at the low level from the CD44(+)CD25(+) stage and the majority of thymocytes expressed PD-1 at the CD44(-)CD25(-) stage in which the thymocytes express TCR beta chains. The anti-CD3epsilon antibody administration augmented the PD-1 expression as well as the differentiation of the CD44(-)CD25(+) DN cells into the CD44(-)CD25(-) DN stage, not only in normal mice but also in RAG-2-deficient mice. The fraction of the PD-1(low) cells in the CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) compartment was very small (<5%) but increased by stimulation with the anti-CD3 antibody, although the total number of DP cells was drastically reduced. The results show that PD-1 expression is specifically induced at the stages preceding clonal selection.

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