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Original Article


Changes in the Expression of Fas on T lymphocytes After Allogeneic Fetal Thymus Transplantation in Systemic Lupus Erytematosus Mice


GS Xu, JH Chen, Q He, YG Jiang, CM Li, Y Yang

Kidney Disease Centre, First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2006; Vol. 16(5): 303-307



Background: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that can produce inflammation in many organ systems. The rate of spontaneous apoptosis in lymphocytes from human SLE patients has been reported to be increased both in vivo and in vitro. Studies of fetal thymus transplantation in an autoimmune syndrome indicate that cellular immunity can be reconstituted and regulatory T cell functions can be normalized.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess changes in Fas expression on T lymphocytes following fetal thymus transplant.

Methods: (B/CxB6) F1 (H-2d/b ) female F1 mice were assigned to groups designated transplantation, normal, and control. Mice in the transplantation and control groups received parental BALB/c lymphocytes intravenously. Thirty days after injection of the lymphocytes, each F1 mouse in the transplantation group received a fetal thymus
graft under the right renal capsule. Mice in the control group did not receive thymus transplant and mice in the normal group received neither parental lymphocytes nor a fetal thymus graft. All mice received cyclosporin A at 2 mg/kg daily for the first 12 days after transplantation or starting on the corresponding day. Thirty days after thymus transplantation, F1 mice were sacrificed and expression of Fas in peripheral blood lymphocytes was analyzed by flow cytometry.

Results: The percentage of CD4Fas+ T lymphocytes was significantly increased in the control group and the transplantation group compared with the normal group. Corresponding significant differences were observed for CD8Fas+, CD4CD25Fas+, and CD45RBlowFas+ T lymphocytes.

Conclusions: In this study, we found that fetal thymus transplantation had a significant effect on the expression of Fas by T cell subtypes in SLE mice.

Key words: Lupus erythematosus, systemic. Thymus gland. Transplantation. Apoptosis. Fas.