Gut cryptopatches: direct evidence of extrathymic anatomical sites for intestinal T lymphopoiesis

Immunity. 2000 Nov;13(5):691-702. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(00)00068-6.


Athymic cytokine receptor gamma chain mutant mice that lack the thymus, Peyer's patches, cryptopatches (CP), and intestinal T cells were reconstituted with wild-type bone marrow cells. Bone marrow-derived TCR(-) intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) first appeared within villous epithelia of small intestine overlying the regenerated CP, and these TCR(-) IEL subsequently emerged throughout the epithelia. Thereafter, TCR(+) IEL increased to a comparable number to that in athymic mice and consisted of TCRgammadelta and TCRalphabeta IEL. In gut-associated lymphoid tissues of wild-type mice, only CP harbored a large population of c-kit(high)IL-7R(+)CD44(+)Thy-1(+/-)CD4(+/-)CD25(low/-)alpha(E) beta(7)(-)Lin(-) (Lin, lineage markers) lymphocytes that included cells expressing germline but not rearranged TCRgamma and TCRbeta gene transcripts. These findings provide direct evidence that gut CP develop progenitor T cells for extrathymic IEL descendants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Lineage / immunology*
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mutation
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*