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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Oct;128(4):854-863.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.07.039. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Effects of purine nucleoside phosphorylase deficiency on thymocyte development.

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1
Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Inherited or acquired defects in purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) impair purine metabolism, as well as the survival and function of T lymphocytes. However, the effects of PNP deficiency on thymocyte development are not well known.

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to study thymocyte development in PNP-deficient (PNP-KO) mice.

METHODS:

Maturation, proliferation, and apoptosis were determined in thymocytes from PNP-KO mice and hematopoietic stem cells from these mice grown ex vivo into thymocyte-like cells.

RESULTS:

Reduced percentages of CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) thymocytes with normal percentages of CD4(-)CD8(+) and CD4(+)CD8(-) single-positive thymocytes were found in the thymi of PNP-KO mice. Similarly, reduced DP-like thymocytes grew ex vivo from hematopoietic stem cells of PNP-KO mice. Thymi of PNP-KO mice contained increased apoptotic DP thymocytes. Increased apoptosis of PNP-deficient DP thymocytes occurred after exposure to deoxyguanosine (dGuo), although not after Fas ligation, and could be prevented by restoring PNP activity within the cells. In DP thymocytes from PNP-KO mice, dGuo caused mitochondrial membrane potential dissipation and induced release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria followed by nuclear DNA fragmentation. Inhibition of the caspase pathway prevented dGuo-induced nuclear DNA fragmentation but not mitochondrial membrane potential dissipation, indicating that PNP deficiency induces apoptosis that is initiated in the mitochondria of DP thymocytes. 5-Bromo-2-deoxyuridine incorporation demonstrated that PNP deficiency does not interfere with DP or single-positive thymocyte proliferation.

CONCLUSIONS:

PNP is important for the survival of DP thymocytes. Accumulation of dGuo in cases of PNP deficiency leads to mitochondria-initiated apoptosis of DP thymocytes, which can be prevented by restoring PNP activity in the cells.

PMID:
21868080
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaci.2011.07.039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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