Development of cytoplasmic CD3+/T cell receptor‐negative cells in the peripheral lymphoid tissues of chickens

Academic Article


  • In a study of T cell ontogeny using monoclonal antibodies specific for chicken T cellreceptors (TcR) and associated cell surface molecules, we found a subset of lymphocytes that express cytoplasmic CD3 epitopes in the absence of cell surface CD3/TcR complexes. Approximately half of these cells, which were present in the spleen, bursa and intestine of young chick embryos, expressed surface CD8. None expressed CD4, TcR1 (γ/δ), TcR 2 (α/β) or TcR 3 (a third CD3‐associated heterodimer inthe chicken). These cytoplasmic CD3+CD8± cells, tentatively named TcR 0 cells to denote their lack of surface TcR, appeared first in the spleen of 8‐day embryos, 4 days before TcR expression begins in the thymus, and reached a peak frequency of ≈ 10% of the splenic cell in 14‐day embryos. The TcR 0 cells were alsopresent in adult birds, where they comprised only about 1% of the CD3+ spleen cells and approximately 40% of the lymphocytes in the intestinal epithelium. We conclude that the avian TcR 0 cells represent a thymus‐independent lineage of lymphocytes which, like natural killer cells in mammals, may play an important role in body defense. Copyright © 1990 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pat Bucy R; Chen CH; Cooper MD
  • Start Page

  • 1345
  • End Page

  • 1350
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 6