- OXFORD UNIV PRESS
To determine the levels of maturation and differentiation of murine CD4 single-positive (SP) T cells, we compared the secondary responses of staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA)-induced neonatal thymic, adult thymic and adult splenic CD4 SP T cell blasts prepared from whole or heat-stable antigen(low) CD4 SP T cells. Proliferative responses upon re-stimulation with SEA were strong in adult splenic CD4 SP T cell blasts, but quite weak in neonatal thymic and adult thymic CD4 SP T cell blasts. SEA-induced IL-2 production was weaker in neonatal thymic blasts than in the adult splenic CD4 SP T cell blasts. In contrast, SEA-induced IL-4 production was high in neonatal thymic CD4 SP T cell blasts, and low in adult splenic and thymic CD4 SP T cell blasts. Expression of GATA-3, that directs production of IL-4 in T cells, examined at protein and mRNA levels, was higher in neonatal thymic cells than in adult thymic and splenic cells. These results suggest that neonatal and adult thymic CD4 SP T cells in the final stage of maturation are relatively immature compared with adult splenic CD4 SP T cells. The cytokine production profile of neonatal thymic CD4 SP T cells suggests that they are inclined towards a T(h)2 response.
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