Genetic dissection of lymphopenia from autoimmunity by introgression of mutated Ian5 gene onto the F344 rat.
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Peripheral T cell lymphopenia (lyp) in the BioBreeding (BB) rat is linked to a frameshift mutation in Ian5, a member of the Immune Associated Nucleotide (Ian) gene family on rat chromosome 4. This lymphopenia leads to type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus (T1DM) at rates up to 100% when combined with the BB rat MHC RT1 u/u genotype. In order, to better study the lymphopenia phenotype without possible confounding effects of diabetes or other autoimmune disease, we generated congenic F344.lyp rats by introgression of lyp on diabetes-resistant MHC RT1 lv1/lv1 F344 rats. Analysis of thymic CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes revealed no difference in the percentage of CD4(-)CD8(+)and CD4(+)CD8(-)subsets in lyp/lyp compared to +/+ F344 rats. The same subsets was however dramatically reduced in blood (P=0.005), spleen (P=0.019) and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) (P<0.0001). Compared to F344 +/+ rats double positive CD4(+)CD8(+)T cells were increased only in lyp/lyp spleen (P=0.034) while double n