Low level of mixing of partner cells seen in extrathymic T cells in the liver and intestine of parabiotic mice: its biological implication

Eur J Immunol. 1998 Nov;28(11):3719-29. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(199811)28:11<3719::AID-IMMU3719>3.0.CO;2-O.


c-kit+ stem cells have recently been found in the liver and intestine of adult mice. We examined whether such stem cells give rise to extrathymic T cells in these organs in situ. To this end, we used parabiotic B6.Ly5.1 and B6.Ly5.2 mice, i.e. mice sharing the circulation. The origin of lymphocytes was identified by anti-Ly5.1 and anti-Ly5.2 monoclonal antibodies in conjunction with immunofluorescence assays. Lymphocytes in the blood, spleen, lymph nodes and liver had become a half-and-half mixture of Ly5.1+ and Ly5.2+ cells in both individuals by day 14. However, this level of mixing decreased in extrathymic T cells in the liver (i.e. NK T cells) and intestine by day 14 and thereafter. The same was observed in T cells of the thymus. The data from immunohistochemical staining supported the results of immunofluorescence assays for suspension cells. The present results raise the possibility that extrathymic T cells in the liver and intestine may arise from their own pre-existing precursor cells, possibly from their own stem cells. Another important finding was that the composition pattern of lymphocyte subsets in one individual was quite similar to that in its partner at various sites. This result was interpreted to mean that only selected partner cells migrate to specific sites in the other partner individual.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / analysis
  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / physiology
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Liver / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily B
  • Parabiosis*
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*


  • Antigens
  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD3 Complex
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily B
  • Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit