In this article we will review data suggesting that acetylcholine takes part in the mutual interplay between developing T cells and thymic epithelium, and thereby may influence the generation of the T-cell repertoire. In the first part we will recapitulate our findings according to which cholinergic agonists affect thymocyte apoptosis via a nicotinergic effect on thymic epithelial cells. In the second part we will present evidence that acetylcholine within the thymus is mainly derived from the thymocytes themselves, and that the production and release of this neurotransmitter is dependent on activation of thymic lymphocytes.
- Acetylcholine production
- Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
- Thymic epithelial cells