Neonates support lymphopenia-induced proliferation

Booki Min, Rebecca McHugh, Gregory D. Sempowski, Crystal Mackall, Gilles Foucras, William E. Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations


T cells expand without intentional antigen stimulation when transferred into adult lymphopenic environments. In this study, we show that the physiologic lymphopenic environment existing in neonatal mice also supports CD4 T cell proliferation. Strikingly, naive CD4 T cells that proliferate within neonates acquire the phenotypic and functional characteristics of memory cells. Such proliferation is inhibited by the presence of both memory and naive CD4 T cells, is enhanced by 3-day thymectomy, is independent of IL-7, and requires a class II MHC-TCR interaction and a CD28-mediated signal. CD44bright CD4 T cells in neonates have a wide repertoire as judged by the distribution of Vβ expression. Thus, lymphopenia-induced T cell proliferation is a physiologic process that occurs during the early postnatal period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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