Regeneration of dendritic cells in aged mice

Serani LH van Dommelen, Alexandra Rizzitelli, Ann Patricia Chidgey, Richard Lennox Boyd, Ken Shortman, Li Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Age-related thymic involution causes a decreased output of thymocytes from the thymus, thereby resulting in impairment of T cell-mediated immunity. While alterations in the T cell and non-haematopoietic stromal compartments have been described, the effects of thymic involution on thymic dendritic cells (DC) are not clearly known. Thymic DC play an essential role in shaping T cell-mediated immune responses by deleting self-reactive thymocytes to establish central tolerance and by inducing regulatory T-cell (Treg) development. It is therefore important to assess the prevalence of and alterations to thymic DC with age, as this may impact on their function. We assessed the numbers and proportions of the three distinct subsets of thymic DC in ageing mice, and showed that these subsets are differentially regulated. This is expected as thymic DC subsets have different origins of development. We further assessed the responses of thymic DC in a regenerative environment, such as that induced by sex-steroid ablation (SSA), and clearly showed that, consistent with global thymus regrowth, all three DC populations increased in numbers and regained their relative proportions to thymocytes after an initial lag period. These findings are important for the clinical translation of thymic regenerative approaches, and indicate that SSA facilitates the maintenance of critical processes such as negative selection and Treg induction through promoting thymic DC regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108 - 115
Number of pages8
JournalCellular & Molecular Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Cite this