Penn researchers pinpoint identity of early-stage t-cells circulating in blood
T cells are critically important for human immunological defenses against pathogens, yet little is known about their early development. T cells are made in the thymus, but ultimately come from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, from which all blood-cell types begin. A progenitor cell must leave the bone marrow to seed the thymus, eventually giving rise to T cells. The identity of this cell has long been sought and might help correct disorders of T-cell production, says Avinash Bhandoola, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Bhandoola and Benjamin Schwarz, a fifth year MD/PhD student, identified such a cell. "Our work really provides the tools," says Bhandoola. "Everyone can now study this cell, and a better understanding of early steps in T-cell development should follow." They describe their findings in the current advance online publication of Nature Immunology.
Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
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