Sepsis-Induced Thymic Atrophy Is Associated with Defects in Early Lymphopoiesis.
Kong Y., Li Y., Zhang W., Yuan S., Winkler R., Kröhnert U., Han J., Lin T., Zhou Y., Miao P., Wang B., Zhang J., Yu Z., Zhang Y., Kosan C., Zeng H.
Impaired T lymphopoiesis is associated with immunosuppression of the adaptive immune response and plays a role in the morbidity and mortality of patients and animal models of sepsis. Although previous studies examined several intrathymic mechanisms that negatively affect T lymphopoiesis, the extrathymic mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we report a dramatic decrease in the percentage of early T lineage progenitors (ETPs) in three models of sepsis in mice (cecal ligation and puncture, lipopolysaccharide continuous injection, and poly I:C continuous injection). However, septic mice did not show a decrease in the number of bone marrow (BM) precursor cells. Instead, the BM progenitors for ETPs expressed reduced mRNA levels of CC chemokine receptor (CCR) 7, CCR9 and P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1, and exhibited impaired homing capacity in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, RNA-Seq analysis and real-time PCR showed a marked downregulation of several lymphoid-related genes in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells differentiated into myeloid cells but failed to generate T lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate that the depletion of ETPs in septic mice might be a consequence of an impaired migration of BM progenitors to the thymus, as well as a defect in lymphoid lineage commitment. Stem Cells 2016;34:2902-2915.