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Immunofluorescent Localization of Non-myelinating Schwann Cells and Their Interactions With Immune Cells in Mouse Thymus

Hu, D., Nicholls, P.K., Yin, C., Kelman, K.R., Yuan, Q., Greene, W.K., Shi, Z. and Ma, B. (2018) Immunofluorescent Localization of Non-myelinating Schwann Cells and Their Interactions With Immune Cells in Mouse Thymus. Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, 66 (11). pp. 775-785.

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Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1369/0022155418778543
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Abstract

The thymus is innervated by sympathetic/parasympathetic nerve fibers from the peripheral nervous system (PNS), suggesting a neural regulation of thymic function including T-cell development. Despite some published studies, data on the innervation and nerve-immune interaction inside the thymus remain limited. In the present study, we used immunofluorescent staining of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) coupled with confocal microscopy/three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction to reveal the distribution of non-myelinating Schwann cells (NMSC) and their interactions with immune cells inside mouse thymus. Our results demonstrate (1) the presence of an extensive network of NMSC processes in all compartments of the thymus including the capsule, subcapsular region, cortex, cortico-medullary junction, and medulla; (2) close associations/interactions of NMSC processes with blood vessels, indicating the neural control of blood flow inside the thymus; (3) the close “synapse-like” association of NMSC processes with various subsets of dendritic cells (DC; e.g., B220+ DCs, CD4+ DCs, and CD8+ DCs), and lymphocytes (B cells, CD4+/CD8+ thymocytes). Our novel findings concerning the distribution of NMSCs and the associations of NMSCs and immune cells inside mouse thymus should help us understand the anatomical basis and the mechanisms through which the PNS affects T-cell development and thymic endocrine function in health and disease.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41090
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