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Thymic Nurse Cells Participate in Heterotypic Internalization and Repertoire Selection of Immature Thymocytes; Their Removal from the Thymus of Autoimmune Animals May be Important to Disease Etiology

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 9 ]


J. C. Guyden, M. Martinez, R. V.E. Chilukuri, V. Reid, F. Kelly and M. -O.D. Samms   Pages 828 - 835 ( 8 )


Thymic nurse cells (TNCs) are specialized epithelial cells that reside in the thymic cortex. The initial report of their discovery in 1980 showed TNCs to contain up to 200 thymocytes within specialized vacuoles in their cytoplasm. Much has been reported since that time to determine the function of this heterotypic internalization event that exists between TNCs and developing thymocytes. In this review, we discuss the literature reported that describes the internalization event and the role TNCs play during T cell development in the thymus as well as why these multicellular complexes may be important in inhibiting the development of autoimmune diseases.


Thymic nurse cells, internalization, MHC restriction, lupus erythromatosus.


, , , , , Department of Biology, The City College of New York, MR-526, New York, NY 10031, USA.

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