The linkage between T-cell and dendritic cell development in the mouse thymus

Immunol Rev. 1998 Oct;165:39-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065x.1998.tb01228.x.


Thymic dendritic cells (DC) mediate negative selection at a relatively late stage of the T-cell developmental pathway. We present evidence that the development of thymic DC and of T-lineage cells is linked via a common precursor at an early stage of thymocyte development. T-lineage precursor populations from the adult mouse thymus, prior to T-cell receptor gene rearrangement, display a capacity to produce DC as well as T cells in the thymus, and are very efficient precursors of DC in culture. These lymphoid/DC precursors have little capacity to form myeloid cells, indicating that thymic DC are a lymphoid-related rather than myeloid-related lineage. In contrast to myeloid-related DC, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor is not required for the development of these lymphoid-related DC in vivo or in vitro. DC can develop in mutant mice lacking mature T cells, provided the common precursors are present. However, in mutant mice lacking functional Ikaros transcription factors, there are deficiencies in lymphoid precursor cells, in mature lymphoid cells and in DC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Humans
  • Ikaros Transcription Factor
  • Lymphocytes
  • Lymphoid Tissue
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Thymus Gland / cytology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zfpn1a1 protein, mouse
  • Ikaros Transcription Factor