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Fetal thymic organ culture (FTOC) provides a method for analyzing T cell development in a physiological context outside the animal. This technique enables studies of genetically altered mice that are embryonic or neonatal lethal, in addition to bypassing the complication of migration of successive waves of T cells out of the thymus. The hanging drop method involves depletion of thymocytes from host lobes using deoxyguanosine, followed by reconstitution with hematopoietic progenitors. This method has become standard for analysis of fetal liver precursors, bone marrow precursors, and early thymocytes. However, difficulties are encountered in the analysis of γδ T cell precursors using this method. We have developed a modification of FTOC in which partial depletion of hematopoietic precursors by shortened deoxyguanosine treatment, coupled with the use of TCRδ-deficient host lobes, enables engraftment and development of fetal γδTCR+ thymocytes. This method allows comparisons of development and functional differentiation of γδ T cell precursors between cells of different genotypes or treatments, in the context of a permissive thymic microenvironment. © 2022. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


Johanna S Selvaratnam, Tracy S H In, Michele K Anderson. Fetal Thymic Organ Culture (FTOC) Optimized for Gamma-Delta T Cell Studies. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2022;2421:243-265

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PMID: 34870824

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