CD4+Thy1- thymocytes with a Th-type 2 cytokine response

Int Immunol. 2001 Jan;13(1):75-83. doi: 10.1093/intimm/13.1.75.


We have identified a small subset of CD3(+), CD4(+), CD8(-) thymocytes that do not express Thy1 (CD90). This Thy1(-) subset represents 1-3.7% of the total number of thymocytes in a naive mouse. CD4(+)Thy1(-) thymocytes express high levels of CD3, intermediate to high levels of heat-stable antigen (HSA), and low levels of CD25, CD45RB, CD69, CD44 and CD62L. They produce high titers of IL-4 and no IFN-gamma upon stimulation in vitro, a response characteristic of T(h)2 cells. In the thymi of mice infected neonatally with a high dose of the retrovirus Cas-Br-E MuLV, the frequency of CD4(+)Thy1(-) cells increased approximately 10-fold. High-dose virus infection resulted in decreased HSA and increased CD44 expression on CD4(+)Thy1(-) cells relative to cells from naive mice. CD4(+)Thy1(-) cells from high-dose infected mice also secreted IL-4 and not IFN-gamma upon in vitro stimulation. We previously reported that infection of newborn mice with a high dose of murine retrovirus results in the induction of a non-protective anti-viral T(h)2 T cell response; CD4(+)Thy1(-) thymocytes with a T(h)2-like cytokine profile may play a role in determining the cytokine bias of this anti-viral response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / biosynthesis
  • Atrophy
  • Biomarkers
  • CD3 Complex / biosynthesis
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Leukemia Virus, Murine / immunology
  • Leukemia, Experimental / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Retroviridae Infections / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / virology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / virology
  • Thy-1 Antigens / biosynthesis*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / pathology
  • Thymus Gland / virology
  • Tumor Virus Infections / immunology


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Biomarkers
  • CD3 Complex
  • Cytokines
  • Thy-1 Antigens