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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Seminars in Immunology

Publication Date





57 - 64