Changes in fetal thymic immune cell populations in a sheep model of intrauterine inflammation

Jacqueline Melville, Robert Bischof, Elza Nicole Theresia Meeusen, Alana Jasmine Westover, Timothy James Murugesan Moss

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Intrauterine inflammation is a common antecedent of preterm birth and can alter the development of the fetal thymus, the site of development, and maturation of T lymphocytes. The effects of intrauterine inflammation on specific thymic T lymphocyte populations are largely unknown. We hypothesized that intrauterine inflammation would alter fetal thymic T cell populations. Immunohistochemistry was used to quantitate the relative proportions of thymic cortical and medullary cell populations in fetal sheep 7 days after intra-amniotic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection. The proportions of CD8(+)and MHC II(+) cells in the fetal thymus were reduced in response to LPS. The ratio of CD4:CD8 cells was increased by LPS exposure. No changes were observed in the percentage of CD4(+), gammadelta(WC1)(+), CD45R(+)B cells, or CD44(+) cells. These studies indicate that intrauterine inflammation impacts thymic composition of CD8 T cells and the development and/or activation of CD4 T cells in the fetal thymus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740 - 747
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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