This is the first report on the establishment of the readily identifiable and functioning thymic nurse cell (TNC) clones from the mouse thymus. In the course of the culture of an epithelial cell line using a medium with a low concentration of Ca2+ from the spontaneous BALB/c thymic tumor, lymphocytes as well as thymic stromal cells which were not apparently typical epithelial cells by light microscopy seemed to grow relatively well in one flask. The culture medium was exchanged with regular Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium in the third week, and from that flask TNC clones were established together with lymphoblast cell clones. The established cells (IT‐79MTNC3) were easily identified as TNC. They formed complexes with simultaneously established lymphoblast cells and were remarkably similar to those of fresh TNC and thymocytes. Cloned TNC could express Ia antigens. In co‐culture experiments, cloned TNC together with recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL 2) appeared to support the growth of fetal thymocytes which with rIL 2 alone failed to proliferate. The supernatant of IT‐79MTNC3 was previously found to contain the growth factor for some T cell clones. It remains to be solved whether the TNC affects fetal thymocytes through direct contact or secretes an active growth‐promoting factor. Experiments along this line are now in progress.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy