The age-dependent variation in the proportion and number of lymphocyte subsets was examined at various extrathymic sites, including the liver, small intestine, colon and appendix in mice. In comparison with young mice (4 weeks of age), the number of total lymphocytes yielded by all tested organs was greater in adult (9 weeks) and old (40 weeks) mice. The major lymphocyte subset that expanded with age was interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R) beta+ CD3int cells (50% of them expressed NK1.1) in the liver, whereas it was CD3+ IL-2Rbeta- NK1.1- cells at all intraepithelial sites in the intestine. Although NK1.1+ CD3+ cells were present at intraepithelial sites in the intestine, the proportion of this subset was rather low. The ratio of CD4 to CD8 tended to decrease among natural killer T (NKT) cells and T cells at all intraepithelial sites in the intestine with age. A unique population of double-positive CD4+ CD8+ cells in the small intestine increased in old mice. B220+ T cells were found mainly in the appendix and colon, and the proportion of these T cells decreased in old mice. Conventional NKT cells were very few in Jalpha281-/- and CD1d-/- mice in the liver, while NKT cells which existed in the appendix remained unchanged even in these mice. This was because unconventional CD8+ NKT cells were present in the intestine. The present results suggest that despite the fact that both the liver and intraepithelial sites in the intestine carry many extrathymic T cells, the distribution of lymphocyte subsets and their age-associated variation are site-specific.
Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research
Choose a citation style from the tabs below