Phenotypic characterization of chicken thymic stromal elements.

R. L. Boyd, T. J. Wilson, A. G. Bean, H. A. Ward, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Phenotypic profiles of the thymic stromal components provide an excellent approach to elucidating the nature of the microenvironment of this organ. To address this issue in chickens, we have produced an extensive panel of 18 mAb to the thymic stroma. These mAb have been extensively characterized with respect to their phenotypic specificities and reveal that the stromal cells are equally as complex as the T cells whose maturation they direct. They further demonstrate that, in comparison to the mammalian thymus, there is a remarkable degree of conservation in thymic architecture between phylogenetically diverse species. Eleven mAb reacted with thymic epithelial cells: MUI-73 was panepithelium, MUI-54 stained all cortical and medullary epithelium but only a minority of the subcapsule, MUI-52 was specific for isolated stellate cortical epithelial cells, MUI-62, -69, and -71 were specific for the medulla (including Hassall's corpuscle-like structures), MUI-51, -53, -70, and -75 reacted only with the type-1 epithelium, or discrete regions therein, lining the subcapsular and perivascular regions and MUI-58 demonstrated the antigenic similarity between the subcapsule and the medulla. Seven other mAb identified distinct isolated stromal cells throughout the cortex and medulla. Large thymocyte-rich regions, which often spanned from the outer cortex to medulla, lacked epithelial cells. These mAb should prove invaluable for determining the functional significance of thymic stromal-cell subsets to thymopoiesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Immunology


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