Thymic microenvironments, 3-D versus 2-D?
Van Ewijk W., Wang BP., Holländer G., Kawamoto H., Spanopoulou E., Itoi M., Amagai T., Jiang YF., Germeraad WTV., Chen WF., Katsura Y.
Lympho-stromal interactions in the thymus crucially determine the fate of developing T cells. Epithelial cells, inter-digitating reticular cells, macrophages and fibroblasts all play a role in the shaping of the T cell repertoire. Recently published evidence shows that lympho-stromal interaction acts bi-directional. Developing T cells themselves, at different stages of differentiation, control the microarchitecture of thymic microenvironments, a phenomenon designated as 'crosstalk'. This paper reviews experiments showing that developing T cells crosstalk to different thymic epithelial cells in a stepwise fashion. In this way, correctly organized thymic microenvironments guarantee normal thymopoiesis.