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  • The American Association of Immunologists (AAI)  (1)
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    Publication Date: 2018-11-20
    Description: Age-related thymic involution is characterized by a decrease in thymic epithelial cell (TEC) number and function parallel to a disruption in their spatial organization, resulting in defective thymocyte development and proliferation as well as peripheral T cell dysfunction. Deficiency of Klotho , an antiaging gene and modifier of fibroblast growth factor signaling, causes premature aging. To investigate the role of Klotho in accelerated age-dependent thymic involution, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of thymopoiesis and peripheral T cell homeostasis using Klotho -deficient ( Kl/Kl ) mice. At 8 wk of age, Kl/Kl mice displayed a severe reduction in the number of thymocytes (10–100-fold reduction), especially CD4 and CD8 double-positive cells, and a reduction of both cortical and medullary TECs. To address a cell-autonomous role for Klotho in TEC biology, we implanted neonatal thymi from Klotho -deficient and -sufficient mice into athymic hosts. Kl/Kl thymus grafts supported thymopoiesis equivalently to Klotho -sufficient thymus transplants, indicating that Klotho is not intrinsically essential for TEC support of thymopoiesis. Moreover, lethally irradiated hosts given Kl/Kl or wild-type bone marrow had normal thymocyte development and comparably reconstituted T cells, indicating that Klotho is not inherently essential for peripheral T cell reconstitution. Because Kl/Kl mice have higher levels of serum phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin D, we evaluated thymus function in Kl/Kl mice fed with a vitamin D–deprived diet. We observed that a vitamin D–deprived diet abrogated thymic involution and T cell lymphopenia in 8-wk-old Kl/Kl mice. Taken together, our data suggest that Klotho deficiency causes thymic involution via systemic effects that include high active vitamin D levels.
    Print ISSN: 0022-1767
    Electronic ISSN: 1550-6606
    Topics: Medicine
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