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Developmental Immunology
Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 67-75

Ontogeny of Rat Thymic Epithelium Defined by Monoclonal Anticytokeratin Antibodies

1Institute for Experimental Medicine, Military Medical Academy Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro
2Institute for Experimental Medicine, Military Medical Academy, Crnotravska 17, Belgrade 11000, Serbia

Received 20 August 1989; Accepted 26 September 1989

Copyright © 1990 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ontogenetic study on the expression of cytokeratin (CK) polypeptides within particular subsets of rat thymic epithelial cells (TEC) has been performed by a large panel of anti-CK monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) using the streptavidin-biotin immunoperoxidase method. Simultaneous presence of two or more CK subunits in the same TEC has been demonstrated by double immunoflouorescence labeling. The obtained results showed that the expression of CK polypeptides in fetal and neonatal thymus differed from the adult patterns. The main difference was observed in expression of CK10, 18, and 19 polypeptides. During fetal ontogeny, CK10 and 18 are markers for most medullary TEC or a subset of medullary TEC, respectively, whereas CK19 is mainly a pan-TEC marker. In the adult animals, they are localized in the cortical and a subset of medullary TEC (CK18), subcapsular/perivascular and some medullary TEC (CK19), or in a subset of medullary TEC and Hasall’s corpuscles (HC) (CK10). The switch in their expression in the cortex was observed during the first two weeks of postnatal life.