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Developmental Immunology
Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 17-24

In Vitro and In Situ Characterization of Fish Thymic Nurse Cells

1Departamento de Biología Celular y Anatomía, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de León, León 24071, Spain
2Departamento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid 28040, Spain

Received 6 September 1995; Accepted 3 January 1996

Copyright © 1996 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.


We present an enzyme- and immuno-cytochemical, and ultrastructural characterization of trout thymic nurse cells (TNCs). Our data suggest that isolated trout thymic multicellular complexes are epithelial cells with acidic compartments that may be involved in the processing of antigens and in the generation of the MHC-II proteins that these cell express, and also that isolated TNCs are the In Vitro equivalent of the pale and intermediate electronlucent epithelial cells located in the inner zone of the trout thymus, constituting indirect evidence of the phylogenetical relationships of the inner zone of the teleost thymus with the thymic cortex of higher vertebrates.