Research NewsImmunology

Pinpointing the Source of Intestinal T Cells

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Science  10 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5361, pp. 199
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5361.199

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Studies of gd T cells are challenging the classical view that T cells must pass through the thymus gland to develop properly. Previous work had shown that some gut T cells, including gd cells, can develop even when the thymus is missing, but just where these cells develop has been much less clear. Now work by a team of Japanese researchers, described on page 275, indicates that they mature in the cryptopatches, clusters of cells located just under the layer of epithelial cells lining the gut. If so, cryptopatches would give the intestinal lining its own homegrown supply of T cells to combat the large array of pathogens and antigens that an animal constantly ingests.