Ectopic expression of CC chemokine ligand 21 (CCL21) in the thyroid leads to development of lymphoid structures that resemble those observed in Hashimoto thyroiditis. Deletion of the inhibitor of differentiation 2 (Id2) gene, essential for generation of CD3-CD4+ lymphoid tissue-inducer (LTi) cells and development of secondary lymphoid organs, did not affect formation of tertiary lymphoid structures. Rather, mature CD3 +CD4+ T cells were critical for the development of tertiary lymphoid structures. The initial stages of this process involved interaction of CD3+CD4+ T cells with DCs, the appearance of peripheral-node addressin-positive (PNAd+) vessels, and production of chemokines that recruit lymphocytes and DCs. These findings indicate that the formation of tertiary lymphoid structures does not require Id2-dependent conventional LTis but depends on a program initiated by mature CD3 +CD4+ T cells.
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