Thymic-dependent differentiation of bone marrow (BM)-derived progenitors and thymic-independent antigen-driven peripheral expansion of mature T cells represent the 2 primary pathways for T-cell regeneration. These pathways are inter-regulated such that peripheral T-cell expansion is increased in thymectomized versus thymus-bearing hosts after bone marrow transplantation (BMT). This study shows that this interregulation is due to competition between progeny of these 2 pathways because depletion of thymic progeny leads to increased peripheral expansion in thymus-bearing hosts. To test the hypothesis that competition for growth factors modulates the magnitude of antigen-driven peripheral expansion during immune reconstitution in vivo, a variety of T. cell active cytokines were administered after BMT. Of the cytokines (interleukins) tested (IL-3, IL-12, IL-6, IL-2, and IL-7), IL-2 modestly increased peripheral expansion in the face of increasing numbers of thymic emigrants, whereas IL-7 potently accomplished this. This report also demonstrates that the beneficial effect of IL-7 on immune reconstitution is related to both increases in thymopoiesis as well as a direct increase in the magnitude of antigen-driven peripheral expansion. Therefore, the administration of exogenous IL-7, and to a lesser extent IL-2, abrogates the down-regulation in antigen-driven peripheral expansion that occurs in thymus-bearing hosts after BMT. These results suggest that one mechanism by which T. cell-depleted hosts may support antigen-driven T-cell expansion in vivo is via an increased availability of T-cell-active cytokines to support clonal expansion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology