Characterization of the spontaneous apoptosis of rat thymocytes in vitro

I. Rinner, P. Felsner, D. Hofer, K. Schauenstein, A. Globerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Unlike splenic or blood lymphocytes, rat thymocytes spontaneously undergo continuously increasing apoptosis during culture. In this study we characterized apoptotic thymus cells of rats according to cell size, nuclear dye binding and surface marker expression. Furthermore, the effects of cell density in culture, the age of the donor animals, giucocorticoids, and inhibition of protein synthesis were studied. It was found that: (1) apoptotic rat thymocytes are recognized in flow cytometry as small, acridine orangelow, CD4low, CD8high cells; (2) the rate of apoptosis is dependent on the cell density in the culture in a biphasic manner; (3) thymic apoptosis increases with age of the donor animal in fresh, as well as in 24-hour cultivated cell suspensions; (4) neither adrenalectomy nor in vivo or in vitro treatment with the glucocorticoid antagonist RU 38486 influenced spontaneous apoptosis of thymocytes, and (5) inhibition of protein synthesis, which decreases apoptosis induced by corticosterone, had no effect on spontaneous apoptosis of thymocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-237
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Archives of Allergy and Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Apoptosis
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Rat
  • Thymocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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