Androgen Receptors in Epithelial Cells Regulate Thymopoiesis and Recent Thymic Emigrants in Male Mice
Journal article, 2020

Androgens have profound effects on T cell homeostasis, including regulation of thymic T lymphopoiesis (thymopoiesis) and production of recent thymic emigrants (RTEs), i. e., immature T cells that derive from the thymus and continue their maturation to mature naive T cells in secondary lymphoid organs. Here we investigated the androgen target cell for effects on thymopoiesis and RTEs in spleen and lymph nodes. Male mice with a general androgen receptor knockout (G-ARKO), T cell-specific (T-ARKO), or epithelial cell-specific (E-ARKO) knockout were examined. G-ARKO mice showed increased thymus weight and increased numbers of thymic T cell progenitors. These effects were not T cell-intrinsic, since T-ARKO mice displayed unaltered thymus weight and thymopoiesis. In line with a role for thymic epithelial cells (TECs), E-ARKO mice showed increased thymus weight and numbers of thymic T cell progenitors. Further, E-ARKO mice had more CD4(+)and CD8(+)T cells in spleen and an increased frequency of RTEs among T cells in spleen and lymph nodes. Depletion of the androgen receptor in epithelial cells was also associated with a small shift in the relative number of cortical (reduced) and medullary (increased) TECs and increased CCL25 staining in the thymic medulla, similar to previous observations in castrated mice. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the thymic epithelium is a target compartment for androgen-mediated regulation of thymopoiesis and consequently the generation of RTEs.



thymic epithelial cells

T cells



Anna S. Wilhelmson

University of Gothenburg

Marta Lantero Rodriguez

University of Gothenburg

Inger Johansson

University of Gothenburg

Elin Svedlund Eriksson

University of Gothenburg

Alexandra Stubelius

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

University of Gothenburg

Susanne Lindgren

University of Gothenburg

Johan Bourghardt Fagman

University of Gothenburg

Pamela J. Fink

University of Washington

Hans Carlsten

University of Gothenburg

Olov Ekwall

University of Gothenburg

Asa Tivesten

University of Gothenburg

Frontiers in Immunology

1664-3224 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 1342

Subject Categories

Cell Biology

Cell and Molecular Biology

Immunology in the medical area

Areas of Advance

Health Engineering





More information

Latest update