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Research Article

CD248 expression on mesenchymal stromal cells is required for post-natal and infection-dependent thymus remodelling and regeneration



Abstract

The role of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in regulating immune responses in the thymus is currently unclear. Here we report the existence and role of a MSC population in the thymus that expresses the pericyte and MSC marker CD248 (endosialin). We show using a CD248-deficient mouse model, that CD248 expression on these cells is required for full post-natal thymus development and regeneration post-Salmonella infection. In CD248−/− mice the thymus is hypocellular and regeneration is poorer, with significant loss of all thymocyte populations. This identifies the requirement of CD248 to maintain optimal thymic cellularity post-partum and infection.Highlights▸ The mesenchymal stromal cell marker CD248 is expressed in the thymus on pericytes. ▸ Genetic deletion of CD248 prevents full post-natal development of the thymus. ▸ Genetic deletion of CD248 prevents infection-dependent regeneration following thymic atrophy. ▸ CD248 regulates blood endothelial vessel formation in the thymus.


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