Antigen-dependent T lymphocytes (TcRβ+) are primarily differentiated in the thymus rather than in other lymphoid tissues in sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, L.)

Nicla Romano, Elisabetta Caccia, Rita Piergentili, Francesca Rossi, Anna Grazia Ficca, Sabrina Ceccariglia*, Lucia Mastrolia

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

19 Citazioni (Scopus)


All jawed vertebrates share lymphocyte receptors that allow the recognition of pathogens and the discrimination between self and non-self antigens. The T cell transmembrane receptor (TcR) has a central role in the maturation and function of T lymphocytes in vertebrates via an important role in positive selection of the variable region of TcR αβ/γδ chains. In this study, the TcRβ transcript expression and TcRβ+ cell distribution during the ontogeny of the immune system of sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, L.) were analysed. RT-PCR analysis of larvae during early development demonstrated that the β chain transcript is expressed by 19 days post-fertilisation (p.f.). RNA probes specific for the β chain were synthesised and used for in situ hybridisation experiments on 30 day p.f. to 180 day old juvenile larvae. A parallel immunohistochemical study was performed using the anti-T cell monoclonal antibody DLT15 developed in our laboratory [Scapigliati et al., Fish Shellfish Immunol 1996; 6:383-401]. The first thymus anlage was detectable at 32-33 days p.f. (Corresponding to about 27 days post-hatch). DLT15+ cells were detected at day 35 p.f. in the thymus whereas TcRβ+ cells were recognisable at day 38 p.f. in the thymus and at day 41 p.f. in the gut. TcRβ+ cells were observed in capillaries from 41 to 80 days p.f. At day 46 p.f., TcRβ+ cells were identified in the head kidney and were detected in the spleen 4 days later. The present results demonstrate that TcRβ+ cells can be differentiated first in the thymus and then in other organs/tissues, suggesting potential TcRβ+ cell colonisation from the thymus to the middle gut. Once the epithelial architecture of the thymus is completed with the formation of the cortical-medullary border (around 70-75 days p.f.), DLT15+ cells or TcRβ+ cells are confined mainly to the cortex and cortical-medullary border. In particular, a large influx of TcRβ+ cells was observed at the cortical-medullary border from 72 to 90 days p.f., suggesting a role in positive selection for this thymic region during the ontogeny of the fish immune system. This study provides novel information about the primary differentiation and distribution of TcRβ+ cells in sea bass larvae and juveniles. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)773-782
Numero di pagine10
RivistaFish and Shellfish Immunology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011


  • Animals
  • Bass
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Development
  • Fish immune system
  • Lymphoid Tissue
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sea bass
  • T cells
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • TcRβ
  • Thymus Gland


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