Requirement for TNF-alpha and IL-1 alpha in fetal thymocyte commitment and differentiation

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Science  30 Jun 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5219, pp. 1906-1909
DOI: 10.1126/science.7541554


CD25 expression occurs early in thymocyte differentiation. The mechanism of induction of CD25 before T cell receptor rearrangement and the importance of this mechanism for T cell development are unknown. In a thymus reconstitution assay, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha), two cytokines produced within the thymic microenvironment, induced CD25 expression on early immature thymocytes. Either TNF-alpha or IL-1 alpha was necessary for further thymocyte maturation and CD4+CD8+ differentiation. In irradiated mice reconstituted with CD117+CD25+ thymocytes, commitment to the T cell lineage was marked by the loss of precursor multipotency.