Author(s): Arsenović-Ranin Nevena, Nacka-Aleksić Mirjana, Djikić Jasmina, Perišić Milica, Kosec D, Pilipović I, Stojić-Vukanić Zorica, Leposavić Gordana
Keywords:ovariectomy, thymic involution, thymocyte apoptosis, thymocyte proliferation
The study was aimed to define the putative role of ovarian hormones in shaping thymocyte apoptosis and proliferation during thymic involution. Thymocytes from young adult and middle-aged rats ovariectomized (Ox) before puberty were examined for apoptosis and proliferation. Apoptosis and proliferation were measured in fresh thymocyte suspensions and in their 18-hour cultures, and fresh thymocyte suspensions, respectively. The thymocyte population and the major thymocyte subsets were analyzed following triple staining using anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 monoclonal antibodies and 7-AAD to label apoptotic or proliferating cells. The frequency of apoptotic cells was lower in thymocyte suspensions and cultures from Ox rats of both ages. This reflected in a diminished frequency of apoptotic cells amongst CD4+CD8+ double positive (DP) and CD4+CD8- single positive (SP), and DP cells in young and middle-aged Ox rats, respectively. Additionally, in thymocyte cultures from Ox rats the frequency of apoptotic cells amongst CD4+CD8- and CD4-CD8+ SP cells decreased with age, but increased within DP and CD4-CD8- double negative (DN) subsets, reaching in the former subset from middle-aged Ox rats higher values than in age-matched controls. The frequency of proliferating cells was also lower in Ox rats than in controls. This reflected the lower frequency of cycling cells amongst CD4+CD8- SP and CD4-CD8+ SP thymocytes in young rats, and DP and CD4-CD8+ SP thymocytes in middle-aged rats. Besides, in both SP and DP thymocyte subsets from Ox rats the frequency of proliferating cells declined with age. In conclusion, thymocyte apoptosis and proliferation exhibit ovarian hormone-dependent thymocyte subset specific alterations during thymic involution.
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