CD4-8- T-cells increase in MRL/lpr mice treated with thymic factors

M. Mattei, S. Bach, S. Di Cesare, M. Fraziano, R. Placido, F. Poccia, I. Sammarco, A. M. Moras, M. R. Bardone, V. Colizzi

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The in vivo effect of thymic factors on immature lymphocytes was analysed in MRL/lpr mice. This strain carries a genetic defect that causes during their life cycle a block of T-cell differentiation and abnormal proliferation of CD4-8- (double-negative, DN) T-lymphocytes. In vivo administration of four preparations of thymic factors, thymopentin (TP-1), thymopoietin (TP-5), thymolymphotropin (TLT), and thymomodulin (TMD) into young (2-month-old) MRL/lpr mice induced a significant increase of DN T-cells both in the thymus and in the peripheral lymph nodes, with a concomitant decrease of double-positive (DP) T-cells in the thymus and of single-positive (SP) T-cells in the lymph nodes. The level of DNA fragmentation measured as propidium iodide fluorescence was increased in the thymus population of young mice and in the lymph node population of old mice treated with TLT. SCID mice transplanted with lymph node cells from MRL/lpr donors (MRL→SCID) developed graft versus host (GvH) reaction due to the activation of MRL CD8+ alloreactive T-cells. This model was used to analyse the effect of TMD/TLT in vivo on MRL cell proliferation and expansion; in fact, spleen cells from MRL→SCID mice after treatment with TMD/TLT showed an increased cell proliferation, and an expansion of DN T-cells with a concomitant decrease of SP cells (both CD4+ and CD8+ cells). Decreased SP cell numbers in this context could explain why TMD/TLT treatment of SCID mice engrafted with MRL cells increased their survival compared to untreated MRL→SCID mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-658
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • double-negative T-cells
  • MRL/lpr mice
  • thymic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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