Thymic microenvironments, 3-D versus 2-D?

Semin Immunol. 1999 Feb;11(1):57-64. doi: 10.1006/smim.1998.0158.


Lympho-stromal interactions in the thymus crucially de- termine the fate of developing T cells. Epithelial cells, inter- digitating reticular cells, macrophages and fibroblasts all play a role in the shaping of the T cell repertoire. Recently published evidence shows that lympho-stromal interaction acts bi-directional. Developing T cell themselves, at different stages of differentiation, control the microarchitecture of thymic microenvironments, a phenomenon designated as 'crosstalk'. This paper reviews experiments showing that developing T cells crosstalk to different thymic epithelial cells in a stepwise fashion. In this way, correctly organized thymic microenvironments guarantee normal thymopoiesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Stromal Cells / cytology*
  • Stromal Cells / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Thymus Gland / cytology*
  • Thymus Gland / embryology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology