Human CD26 expression in transgenic mice affects murine T-cell populations and modifies their subset distribution

Luca Simeoni, Alessandro Rufini, Tiziana Moretti, Pietro Forte, Alessandro Aiuti, Antonio Fantoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CD26 is a type II transmembrane glycoprotein with dipeptidyl peptidase (DPPIV) activity, constitutively expressed in different cell types and contributing to T-cell activation by acting as costimulatory molecule. Although data suggest an important role for CD26 within the immune system, the physiologic function of this molecule is still unknown. To investigate the role of CD26 in vivo we have produced transgenic mice expressing the human molecule in T cells. Human CD26 (huCD26) is constitutively expressed in all thymocytes and peripheral T lymphocytes of these transgenic mice and is endowed with an enhanced DPPIV activity. CD26 transgene expression induces major phenotypic changes to T-cell populations within the thymus and in peripheral blood. After the onset of sexual maturity, huCD26 expression induces an age-related overreduction of thymus cellularity accompanied by a relative impairment of thymocyte proliferation following lectin stimulation. Also the peripheral blood T-cell pool is reduced in huCD26 transgenic mice and this is accompanied by an increase of the apoptotic rate of CD4+ and CD8+ subpopulations. Taken together these data suggest that CD26 interferes with transduction pathway(s) needed for the maturation of T cells and plays an important role in T lymphocyte homeostasis in peripheral blood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-730
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002


  • CD26
  • Proliferation
  • T-cell homeostasis
  • Thymus
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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