The distribution of T- and B-cells in the developing lymphoid and immunohaematopoietic tissues of the tammar wallaby were investigated using antibodies to the mature cell surface markers, CD3, CD5 and CD79b. In the thymus, CD3- and CD5-positive T-cells were first observed at day 12 postpartum whilst rare B-cells were first detected at day 23. Both T- and B-lymphocytes were first stained on day 21 postpartum in the spleen and day 24 in lymph nodes. In one sample from a 7-day-old animal, rare CD79b-positive (CD79b+) lymphocytes were observed in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues. However, CD3+ cells were not apparent until day 12 and CD5+ cells were not detected until day 74 postpartum. No lymphocytes were detected in liver or bone marrow samples and no bronchus-associated lymphoid tissues were observed. The pattern of development and the distribution of T- and B-cells in the lymphoid and immunohaematopoietic tissues were similar to those observed in eutherian mammals and in limited studies of other metatherians. However, the detection of apparently mature T- and B-cells in the thymus and gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) at the same postnatal age highlights the need for a more substantial study of the development of GALT. This is, at present, limited by availability of marsupial-specific antibodies.
- Immune system