Preferential Proliferation and Differentiation of Double-Positive Thymocytes into CD8+ Single-Positive Thymocytes in a Novel Cell Culture Medium
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The identification of factors that regulate the proliferation and differentiation of double-positive (DP) into CD4(+) and CD8(+) single-positive (SP) thymocytes has proven difficult due to the inability of DP thymocytes to proliferate, expand, and differentiate into SP thymocytes in available cell culture media. Here we report on the ability of DP thymocytes to differentiate in a novel conditioned medium, termed XLCM, derived from the supernatant of mitogen activated human cord blood mononuclear cells. During a 5-day culture in XLCM in the absence of thymic stromal cells, DP thymocytes from normal mice and MHC double knockout mice (lack SP thymocytes) proliferate, expand, and differentiate into several (alphabetaTCR(+), NK1.1(+)alphabetaTCR(+), and gammadeltaTCR(+)) subsets of CD4(+) and predominantly CD8(+) SP thymocytes. These studies suggest that the use of XLCM may aid in the characterization of factors that regulate the differentiation of DP thymocytes into CD8(+) SP thymocytes.