Estrogen-receptor expression and function in thymocytes in relation to gender and age

F. Kohen, L. Abel, A. Sharp, Y. Amir-Zaltsman, D. Sömjen, S. Luria, G. Mor, A. Knyszynski, H. Thole, A. Globerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The expression of estrogen receptor (ER) in thymocytes was studied in young, middle-aged, and old (2, 12, and 24 months, respectively) female and male C57BL/6J mice. Western immunoblots prepared from the thymocytes of females of all age groups showed the presence of a 67-kD protein band, which has been associated with the apparent MW of denatured ER. Flow cytometry analysis of cells stained with a monoclonal anti-ER antibody (clone 13H2) disclosed ER expression in both females and males of all age groups. In vivo treatment with estradiol (E2) led to an increase in the specific activity of thymic creatine kinase (CK) in the female mice, whereas the male thymocytes responded with an increase in CK activity only on treatment with dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The data show no differences in ER expression between male and females, but the receptor appears not to be functional in males. Interestingly, when estradiol was applied to co-cultures of lymphoid-depleted fetal thymus (FT) explants and bone-marrow cells, or thymocytes, from young and old females, it resulted in increased cellularity of cultures containing cells of the young, and not those of the old. The proportion of CD4/CD8 phenotypes of the developing cells in these cultures was not affected by E2 treatment. These observations provide a new insight into ER expression and function in T-cell development in relation to gender and age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Thymocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Developmental Biology


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