Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tonsils make T-cells, too

Date:
March 5, 2012
Source:
Ohio State University Medical Center
Summary:
A new study provides evidence that immune cells called T lymphocytes, or T cells, can develop in human tonsils. The cells have been thought to develop only in the thymus, an organ of the immune system that sits on the heart. The findings could be important for improving stem-cell transplantation and for understanding the development of T-cell cancers and autoimmune diseases.

A new study provides evidence that a critical type of immune cell can develop in human tonsils. The cells, called T lymphocytes, or T cells, have been thought to develop only in the thymus, an organ of the immune system that sits on the heart.

The study, led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC -- James), could improve the understanding of T-cell cancers and autoimmune diseases, and how stem-cell transplantation is done.

The study identified T cells at five distinct stages of development in the tonsil. These stages, identified using molecular signposts on the cells, were very similar to the stages of T-cell development in the thymus, although some differences were found as well.

The study also discovered that the cells develop in a particular region of the tonsil, in areas near the fibrous scaffold of the tonsil.

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"We've known for a long time that a functional thymus is necessary to develop a complete repertoire of T-cells, but whether a T-cell factory existed outside the thymus has been controversial," says principal investigator Dr. Michael A. Caligiuri, director of Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

"I believe our study answers that question. It is the first report to describe a comprehensive, stepwise model for T-cell development outside the thymus."

It also raises a number of questions. Caligiuri notes that it's still unclear whether T-cells that develop in the tonsil also mature there or whether they leave the tonsil to mature elsewhere.

"The complete implications of this phenomenon for human health and disease are not entirely known," adds first-author Susan McClory, a graduate fellow in Caligiuri's laboratory. "It could be important in the development of T-cell cancers and autoimmune diseases, or it might suggest a location for T-cell development when thymus function is poor. We hope to do additional studies to explore these possibilities," she says.

Caligiuri, McClory and their colleagues conducted the study using tonsil tissue obtained from children undergoing routine tonsillectomy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, and thymic tissue obtained from children undergoing thoracic surgery.

Using the molecular features of T-cells as they develop in the thymus, the researchers identified five populations of maturing T cells in the tonsils. They found, for example, that the first two of those groups resembled cells of the earliest stages of T cells that developed in the thymus, while cells in the fifth group were similar to nearly mature T-cells in the thymus.

They also showed that all five of the cell groups had the capacity to develop into T cells in laboratory tests, and that the first four populations had the capacity to develop into immune cells called natural killer cells.

"Overall, our work suggests that the tonsils serve as a T-cell factory, along with the thymus," Caligiuri says. "Next, we need to learn what proportion of T-cells is derived within the tonsil compared with the thymus."

Funding from the National Cancer Institute supported this research.

Other researchers involved in this study were Tiffany Hughes, Edward Briercheck, Chelsea Martin, Anthony J. Trimboli, Jianhua Yu, Xiaoli Zhang, Gustavo Leone and Gerard Nuovo of Ohio State University; and Aharon G. Freud of Stanford University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Susan McClory, Tiffany Hughes, Aharon G. Freud, Edward L. Briercheck, Chelsea Martin, Anthony J. Trimboli, Jianhua Yu, Xiaoli Zhang, Gustavo Leone, Gerard Nuovo, Michael A. Caligiuri. Evidence for a stepwise program of extrathymic T cell development within the human tonsil. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012; DOI: 10.1172/JCI46125

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University Medical Center. "Tonsils make T-cells, too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305173657.htm>.
Ohio State University Medical Center. (2012, March 5). Tonsils make T-cells, too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305173657.htm
Ohio State University Medical Center. "Tonsils make T-cells, too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305173657.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins