Methods to quantify Th cell reconstitution after immunosuppressive therapies such as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation are becoming a key issue since persistent Th cell deficiencies may result in severe complications and adverse events. We employed here cytometric monitoring of CD31+ thymus-naive Th cells for the direct assessment of human thymic function in 10 patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation for severe autoimmune diseases. High frequencies of posttransplant recurring naive Th cells coexpressed CD31 and stable long-term reconstitution with elevated absolute counts of CD31+ thymus-naive Th cells that were enriched with T cell receptor excision circles was demonstrated. Cytometric monitoring of CD31+ thymus-naive Th cells enables to directly evaluate human thymic function ex vivo.
2008 S. Karger AG, Basel