Presence of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency disease Academic Article uri icon

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  • The murine intestinal epithelium contains a heterogeneous population of intraepithelial leukocytes (IEL) most of which are granulated, Thy-1-CD5-CD8+. In order to assess the lineage relationship of this subgroup of IEL to peripheral T cells, we examined IEL in mice with the severe combined immunodeficiency (scid/scid) mutation, which lack T and B cells in peripheral lymphoid tissues. Electron and light microscopy showed that the intestine from scid/scid mice had granulated IEL similar to IEL in normal C.B-17 mice. Flow cytometry of isolated IEL stained with monoclonal antibodies against Thy-1, CD3, CD4, CD5 and CD8 showed that scid/scid mice IEL contained cells with the Thy-1-CD4-CD5-CD8+ phenotype. Immunohistochemical staining of IEL in tissue sections with antibodies to Thy-1 and CD8 confirmed that the Thy-1-CD8+ cells were in the intestinal epithelium. These scid/scid IEL also lacked CD3 expression and mRNA for the V gamma 7 V region gene of the gamma T cell receptor. We conclude that scid/scid mice contain precursors for IEL that can differentiate into a granulated Thy-1-CD5-CD8+ IEL in the intestine. The absence of CD8+ peripheral T cells in these mice suggests that these IEL differ from classical T cells in their ability to differentiate and express CD8 and do not require T cell receptor expression for their localization to the intestine.


  • Croitoru, Kenneth
  • Stead, Ron H
  • Bienenstock, John
  • Fulop, Gabrielle
  • Harnish, Delsworth G
  • Shultz, Leonard D
  • Jeffery, Peter K
  • Ernst, Peter B

publication date

  • March 1990

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