αβ T-cell development and selection proceed while thymocytes successively migrate through distinct regions of the thymus. For γδ T cells, the interplay of intrathymic migration and cell differentiation is less well understood. Here, we crossed C-C chemokine receptor (CCR)7-deficient (Ccr7(-/-) ) and CCR9-deficient mice (Ccr9(-/-) ) to mice with a TcrdH2BeGFP reporter background to investigate the impact of thymic localization on γδ T-cell development. γδ T-cell frequencies and numbers were decreased in CCR7-deficient and increased in CCR9-deficient mice. Transfer of CCR7- or CCR9-deficient BM into irradiated C57BL/6 WT recipients reproduced these phenotypes, pointing toward cell-intrinsic migration defects. Monitoring recent thymic emigrants by intrathymic labeling allowed us to identify decreased thymic γδ T-cell output in CCR7-deficient mice. In vitro, CCR7-deficient precursors showed normal γδ T-cell development. Immunohistology revealed that CCR7 and CCR9 expression was important for γδ T-cell localization within thymic medulla or cortex, respectively. However, γδ T-cell motility was unaltered in CCR7- or CCR9-deficient thymi. Together, our results suggest that proper intrathymic localization is important for normal γδ T-cell development.
Keywords: C-C chemokine receptor CCR7; C-C chemokine receptor CCR9; intrathymic migration; γδ T cells.
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