Selective adhesion of immature thymocytes to bone marrow stromal cells: Relevance to T cell lymphopoiesis

M. Barda-Saad, L. A. Rozenszajn, A. Globerson, A. S. Zhang, D. Zipori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We investigated the interactions between the bone marrow microenvironment and T cell populations at different stages of maturation. Thymocytes were seeded onto confluent layers of bone marrow stromal cell lines (MBA-13 or 14F1.1). Within a few hours two main thymocyte populations were observed; one remained in the liquid phase and the other adhered to the stromal cells. After 24 hours of culture, most of the adhering cells expressed the phenotype of the precursors, double negative (DN) CD4-CD8-, or of immature thymocytes, double positive (DP) CD4+CD8+. The number of adhering DN cells did not change during the time of the culture, whereas that of the DP declined. The CD4+CD8- or CD4-CD8+ cells did not adhere to any significant extent. The expression of CD3 antigen on adherent thymocytes was lower than that on nonadherent ones. Sorted thymocytes at a high level of purification (>96%) were cultured over stromal layer and, after 24 hours, 60% of the DN or 22% of the DP cells were found to adhere to the stroma. The culture medium was replaced every 24 hours or after 48 hours; no significant change was noted in the number of adhering DN and DP cells. The reappearance of immature T cells in the liquid phase suggested proliferation of this cell type. Thus, early thymocytes, phenotypically characterized as DN and DP, preferentially adhere to bone marrow stromal cells. This in vitro phenomenon may represent the function of the BM stroma as an extrathymic site of T cell lymphopoiesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-391
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • T cell lymphopoiesis
  • bone marrow stromal cells
  • thymocyte adherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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