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J Clin Immunol. 1997 Jan;17(1):63-73.

Programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cord blood lymphocytes.

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Basic and Clinical Immunology, University of California, Irvine 92697, USA.


Cord blood lymphocytes are functionally immature and have deficient immune responses. In order to determine whether the process of programmed cell death is distinct between cord blood and peripheral blood lymphocytes, we analyzed the expression of fas and bax (apoptosis promoting genes) and bcl-2 and bcl-xL (apoptosis inhibiting genes) at protein or mRNA levels using flow cytometry and quantitative PCR methods, respectively. The susceptibility of T cell subsets from cord blood and adult peripheral blood to undergo apoptosis following restimulation with anti-CD3 or anti-Fas monoclonal antibodies was also studied. We observed that cord blood T cell subsets expressed lower levels of Fas and Bcl-2, a low bcl-2/bax ratio, and higher bcl-xL compared to peripheral blood. Additionally, upon primary stimulation with anti-CD3, cord blood T cell subsets were more resistant to apoptosis compared to peripheral blood. In contrast, rechallenge of previously stimulated lymphocytes with anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody triggered apoptosis in a larger proportion of T cells from cord blood as compared to peripheral blood, whereas the number of T cells undergoing anti-Fas-induced programmed cell death were lower in cord blood compared to peripheral blood.

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