Failure of rearranged TCR transgenes to prevent age-associated thymic involution

H. Daniel Lacorazza, Jose A. Guevara Patiño, Marc E. Weksler, Dorel Radu, Janko Nikolić-Žugić

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19 Scopus citations


After puberty, the thymus undergoes a dramatic loss in volume, in weight and in the number of thymocytes, a phenomenon termed age-associated thymic involution. Recently, it was reported that age-associated thymic involution did not occur in mice expressing a rearranged transgenic (Tg) TCRαβ receptor. This finding implied that an age-associated defect in TCR rearrangement was the major, if not the only, cause for thymic involution. Here, we examined thymic involution in three other widely used MHC class I- restricted TCRαβ Tg mouse strains and compared it with that in non-Tg mice. In all three TCRαβ Tg strains, as in control mice, thymocyte numbers were reduced by ~90% between 2 and 24 mo of age. The presence or absence of the selecting MHC molecules did not alter this age-associated cell loss. Our results indicate that the expression of a rearranged TCR alone cannot, by itself, prevent thymic involution. Consequently, other presently unknown factors must also contribute to this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4262-4268
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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