Severe colitis in mice with aberrant thymic selection

Immunity. 1995 Jul;3(1):27-38. doi: 10.1016/1074-7613(95)90156-6.


Tg epsilon 26 mice display an arrest very early in T cell development that has a profound effect on the architecture of thymic stromal cells. We have recently demonstrated that transplantation of wild-type bone marrow cells restores the thymic microenvironment of fetal but not adult Tg epsilon 26 mice. Here, we report that T cell-reconstituted adult Tg epsilon 26 mice develop a spontaneous wasting syndrome characterized by extensive inflammation of the colon, resembling human ulcerative colitis. Colitis in these animals was marked by substantial infiltration of the colon by activated thymus-derived CD4+ T cells. Importantly, bone marrow-transplanted Tg epsilon 26 mice previously engrafted with a fetal Tg epsilon 26 thymus did not develop colitis. These results suggest that T cells selected in an aberrant thymic microenvironment contain a population of cells able to induce severe colitis that can be prevented by T cells that have undergone normal thymic development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / etiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / prevention & control
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / embryology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology


  • CD8 Antigens