Peripheral CD8 + T cells are defective in both IL-15 and IL-15Rα knock-out (KO) mice; however, whether IL-15/IL-15Rα deficiency has a similar effect on CD8 single-positive (SP) thymocytes remains unclear. In this study, we investigated whether the absence of IL-15 transpresentation in IL-15Rα KO mice results in a defect in thymic CD8 single positive (SP) TCR hi thymocytes. Comparison of CD8SP TCR hi thymocytes from IL-15Rα KO mice with their wild type (WT) counterparts by flow cytometry showed a significant reduction in the percentage of CD69 - CD8SP TCR hi thymocytes, which represent thymic premigrants. In addition, analysis of in vivo 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation demonstrated that premigrant expansion of CD8SP TCR hi thymocytes was reduced in IL-15Rα KO mice. The presence of IL-15 transpresentation-dependent expansion in CD8SP TCR hi thymocytes was assessed by culturing total thymocytes in IL-15Rα-Fc fusion protein-pre-bound plates that were pre-incubated with IL-15 to mimic IL-15 transpresentation in vitro. The results demonstrated that CD8SP thymocytes selectively outgrew other thymic subsets. The contribution of the newly divided CD8SP thymocytes to the peripheral CD8 + T cell pool was examined using double labeling with intrathymically injected FITC and intravenously injected BrdU. A marked decrease in FITC + BrdU + CD8 + T cells was observed in the IL-15Rα KO lymph nodes. Through these experiments, we identified an IL-15 transpresentation-dependent proliferation process selective for the mature CD8SP premigrant subpopulation. Importantly, this process may contribute to the maintenance of the normal peripheral CD8 + T cell pool.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)