Opposing reactivities of subpopulations of T lymphocytes toward syngeneic tumor cells: Separation of early thymocytes

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Abstract

The present communication is a continuation of earlier studies which indicated that interaction between syngeneic tumors and those lymphocytes in the early stages of thymic processing can result in enhanced tumor growth in vivo. The thymocytes involved in this tumor enhancement were found previously in the rapidly dividing subpopulation of subcapsular cortical thymocytes, both in the untreated thymus and in the thymus undergoing repopulation after cortisone depletion. In the present experiments we have isolated this small subpopulation of early thymocytes. After cortisone injection such cells could be separated from the medullary cortisone-resistant thymocytes since the latter cells exhibit a high level of surface H-2 antigens and were thus lysed preferentially by anti-H-2 serum and complement. The repopulating subcapsular early thymocytes, which were resistant to this treatment, were incapable of responding to PHA while their basal proliferation rate was undiminished, and the majority of the cells were found to be dividing. When such low H-2 early thymocytes were injected together with three different tumors into syngeneic mice their tumor-enhancing activity was evident. It is clear that such early thymocytes are not devoid of biologic reactivity and their release from the thymus could have decisive results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1172
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume121
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes

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