Autoradiography and various quantitations on lymphoid tissues have been used to evaluate the kinetics of small lymphocytes in normal (+/nu or +/+) and congenitally athymic nude (nu/nu) NMRI mice 1 month after splenectomy or sham-splenectomy. The results indicate that splenectomy causes depressed thymic activity and diminished numbers of T lymphocytes in peripheral lymphoid tissues. The total number of cells in these tissues as well as the blast cell activity, were within normal limits. Bone marrow lymphocyte numbers and kinetics as well as blood lymphocyte levels in splenectomized and sham-splenectomized normal animals were comparable. Blood lymphocyte numbers were at normal levels in splenectomized nude mice, in spite of reduced numbers of bone marrow and thoracic duct lymphocytes. It is suggested that increased number of newly-formed lymphocytes, found in lymph nodes and blood of splenectomized mice, are released from the lympho-myeloid organs in compensation for the loss of long-lived, thymus-derived cells.
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