Conserved and divergent aspects of human T-cell development and migration in humanized mice.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/icb.2015.38
Humanized mice represent an important model to study the development and function of the human immune system. While it is known that mouse thymic stromal cells can support human T-cell development, the extent of interspecies cross-talk and the degree to which these systems recapitulate normal human T-cell development remain unclear. To address these questions, we compared conventional and non-conventional T-cell development in a neonatal chimera humanized mouse model with that seen in human fetal and neonatal thymus samples, and also examined the impact of a human HLA-A2 transgene expressed by the mouse stroma. Given that dynamic migration and cell-cell interactions are essential for T-cell differentiation, we also studied the intrathymic migration pattern of human thymocytes developing in a murine thymic environment. We found that both conventional T-cell development and intra-thymic migration patterns in humanized mice closely resemble human thymopoiesis. Additionally, we show that developing human thymocytes engage in short, serial interactions with other human hematopoietic-derived cells. However, non-conventional T-cell differentiation in humanized mice differed from both fetal and neonatal human thymopoiesis, including a marked deficiency of Foxp3(+) T-cell development. These data suggest that although the murine thymic microenvironment can support a number of aspects of human T-cell development, important differences remain, and additional human-specific factors may be required.