We have described a procedure for isolating thymic macrophages and have evaluated their activity in stimulating thymocyte maturation in vitro. The culturing of gradient-purified immature thymocytes on thymic macrophages leads to an increased expression of H-2 antigens and decreased lytic sensitivity with anti-TL and C. The macrophage-stimulated thymocyte also acquires the ability to respond in the MLR. We propose that the macrophage may regulate one stage of thymic differentiation in vivo.


This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants AI 10091 and NCI 14723 and by a grant from the Council for Tobacco Research, Inc.

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