We have studied the effects of the steroid hormones, 17 β-estradiol and dexamethasone, on the relative proportion of thymocyte expression of CD4 (L3T4), CD8 (Ly-2), TCR and IL-2R, used to identify different stages of thymocyte differentiation. After short-term in vivo steroid treatment, a significant decrease in the number and proportion of the CD4+/CD8+, double positive subpopulations was observed in parallel with a proportional increase in the percentage of the CD4+/CD8- single positive, of the CD4-/CD8-, double negative and, to a lesser extent, of the CD8+/CD4- subsets. Either steroid treatment increased the proportion of cells expressing either the ε-chain of the CD3 complex and/or the β-chain of the TCR (β-TCR) (TCR+/CD3+) and the 55 kDa protein of the IL-2R (IL-2R+), related to the increase of CD4+ SP thymocytes and of DN cells, respectively. Furthermore, the increased proportion of CD3+ cells could also be partially related to the increase of both the CD4+ and DN subsets. A decrease of the effect on either DN/IL-2R+ cells or CD4+ SP cells was selectively observed after long-term treatments with 17β-estradiol or DEX, respectively. It is concluded that after short-term administration, different steroid hormones mediate a similar selective depletion of DP, TCR-/CD3-, IL2R- cells presumably in an intermediate stage of differentiation. However, either steroid effects evolve differently in long-term treatment schedules, resulting in different effects on early (DN/IL2R+) and late (SP/IL2R-) steps of thymocyte differentiation.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1989|
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