Development of retrovirally marked human T progenitor cells into mature thymocytes

F. J. Staal, P. C. Res, K. Weijer, H. Spits

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Retroviral vectors have been used in most human gene therapy trials that have been undertaken. Many of these therapies have focused on the introduction of genes into hematopoietic stem cells with the goal of obtaining expression in the mature T lymphocytic progeny. It has proven difficult to achieve expression in the lymphoid lineage, although several groups have demonstrated low expression of transduced genes in the myeloid lineage. In this study we used an in vitro thymic organ culture in which stem/progenitor cells can develop into T cells and all intermediate stages can be studied and manipulated to investigate the fate of a retrovirally introduced Escherichia coli LacZ gene in this system. Here we show that certain conditions can transduce Jurkat T cells, three different antigen-specific T cell clones and CD34+CD3-CD4-CD8- thymocytes (progenitor T cells) with high (> 80%) efficiency. Moreover, retroviral transduction with the LacZ gene does not inhibit T and NK cell differentiation of progenitor cells in fetal thymic organ cultures (FTOC). The LacZ gene also is functionally expressed at all stages of development, although the expression decreases somewhat during differentiation. This experimental system, combining FTOC and retroviral transduction, provides a genetic tool for the study of human T cell development
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1309
JournalInternational immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1995

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