An orthologous non-MHC locus in rats and mice is linked to CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell proportion

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CD4+ and CD8+ T cells have a central role in the immune system due to their ability to protect against infection and cancer development without targeting self. Consequently, changes in CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell homeostasis can be indicative of an array of serious illnesses, ranging from viral infections to autoimmune diseases. In addition to environmental influences, there is evidence for a genetic component regulating the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in lymphoid organs. Indeed, identifying the genetic determinants defining the frequency of the T-cell subsets is critical as it may reveal a targetable genetic pathway to modulate CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell numbers, which could be of clinical relevance for multiple disease settings. In this study, we aim to uncover non-MHC genetic factors regulating the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in lymphoid tissues. By investigating linkage analyses on three independent F2 cohorts, namely a rat F2 (BBDP × ACI.1U.LYP) cohort, a mouse 3A9 TCR transgenic F2 (B10.BR × NOD.H2k) cohort and a mouse F2 (C57BL/6 × FVB/N) cohort, we uncover an orthologous non-MHC locus on rat chromosome 1 and mouse chromosome 7 that is linked to T-cell proportion amongst total lymphocytes.

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