The fate of CD4-8- T cell receptor-αβ+ thymocytes

Hyam I. Levitsky, Paul T. Golumbek, Drew M. Pardoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


CD4-8- TCR-αβ+ thymocytes represent a distinct population whose fate and function have remained a mystery. We show here that this thymocyte subset bears NK1, a surface Ag previously thought to be expressed exclusively by TCR- NK cells. Analysis of peripheral lymphocytes for the coexpression of TCR-αβ and NK1 revealed a subset with similar characteristics to the NK1+ thymocytes: a large fraction that are CD4-8- and a skewed TCR repertoire in which Vβ8 is overrepresented. Thymus transplant experiments into congenically marked athymic (nude) mice revealed that the NK1+TCRαβ+ subset was exclusively thymus derived and represented a distinct subset from the thymus-independent NK1+TCR- population. Finally, the NK1+TCRαβ+ population preferentially localizes to the bone marrow. These results demonstrate that this T cell subset is exported to the periphery after developing in the thymus. Their unique surface Ag expression and tissue localization suggest an immune function distinct from classical T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1113-1117
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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