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Hepatology. 1997 Aug;26(2):301-9.

Mouse liver T cells: their change with aging and in comparison with peripheral T cells.

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1st Department of Surgery, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi, Japan.


Mouse liver contains both IL-2Rbeta- (or low positive) high T-cell receptor (TCR(hi)) cells and IL-2Rbeta+ intermediate TCR (TCR(int)) cells. TCR(int) cells consist of natural killer 1.1 (NK1)+ and NK1- subsets. NK1- TCR(int) cells increase constantly with age whereas TCR(hi) cells decrease. NK1+ TCR(int) cell proportions in the liver increase until middle age and decrease thereafter. Although NK1+ TCR(int) cells in other organs are few regardless of age, NK1- TCR(int) cells gradually appear in other lymphoid organs with aging. Skewed usage of Vbeta7 and Vbeta8 TCR was observed in NK1+ TCR(int) cells in the liver but the predominance was less obvious in NK1- TCR(int) and TCR(hi) cells in the liver and other organs. TCR V alpha14 messenger RNA (mRNA) was detected in NK1+ TCR(int) cells but not in the other two populations. In contrast, although NK1+ TCR(int) cells contain virtually no V alpha11+ T cells, NK1- TCR(int) cells contain a much higher proportion (approximately 12%) of V alpha11+ T cells, whereas approximately 4% of TCR(hi) cells are V alpha11+. NK activities of liver mononuclear cells (MNC) and splenocytes decrease with aging, although the former is always greater than the latter. NK activity of liver MNC is a function of NK cells, partly NK1+ TCR(int) cells but not NK1- TCR(int) cells or TCR(hi) cells. These results suggest that lymphocytes of liver and other organs at old age are no longer occupied solely by conventional thymus-derived T cells, and the increase of extrathymic IL-2Rbeta+ NK1- TCR(int) cells in liver and periphery could be closely related to immunological changes with aging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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