Mouse fetuses with trisomy 16 have severe abnormalities of several hematopoietic stem cell and precursor populations. The thymus is extremely hypoplastic, with a greater than or equal to 80% reduction in the number of thymocytes. This cellular deficiency appears to be the result of a deficiency in the number of precursor cells in the early thymus, since the rate of proliferation of thymocytes in explanted day-14 thymuses was normal. However, the functional maturation of thymocytes was delayed in vitro in day-17 organ explants, although the maximal response to the mitogenic and interleukin 2-stimulating effects of concanavalin A are quantitatively normal. B cells and pre-B cells in the fetal liver were moderately decreased, but the ability of fetal liver cells to be transformed by Abelson murine leukemia virus was nearly totally lost. There were also significant relative and absolute decreases in the number of spleen, culture, and erythroid colony-forming units (CFU-S, CFU-C, CFU-E) and of erythroid burst-forming units (BFU-E) in the trisomic liver, and the trisomic animals were anemic with small spleens and livers. However, unlike other genetically caused anemias, there was no reduction in the number of germ cells. The hematopoietic abnormalities in the trisomy 16 mouse, involving the lymphoid, myeloid, and erythroid cell lineages, are much more generalized than the abnormalities in any of the other described genetically caused immunodeficiencies or anemias in the mouse. They are also more severe than those in human trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), for which mouse trisomy 16 is a genetic model, but there does exist an interesting parallel between the thymic abnormalities in the two species.

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