Thymic Involution and T cell Memory

Influence of thymic involution on the primary and memory response to influenza virus

T cell repertoires are composed of a mixture of naïve and memory cells. With age these populations may compete for the limited space that exists for the T cell population. Thymic involution may function to allow space for memory cells. In its absence, the space would be increasingly occupied by naïve cells possibility to the detriment of memory cells. If correct, this hypothesis would predict that primary responses would not be altered by delays in thymic involution but the memory response would be affected. In our lab we are using transgenic mice that rapidly involute their thymus to test this hypothesis.