The Thymus and Aging

  • Katsuiku Hirokawa
Part of the Comprehensive Immunology book series (COMIMUN, volume 1)


The thymus was an organ of mystery until about 15 years ago when Miller (1961), Good et al. (1962), and Jankovic et al. (1962), through their neonatal thymectomy studies of experimental animals, revealed that it plays a major role in the development of the immune system. Since then, the thymus has been extensively examined by many investigators. Thus we now know that (a) it is one of the central lymphoid tissues with the ability of transforming bone marrow precursor cells into thymusderived T cells, and (b) the T cells that migrate out into the various peripheral lymphoid tissues play a major role in immunological surveillance (Burnet, 1970) by participating in (1) the delayed hypersensitivity reaction, (2) foreign graft rejection, (3) resistance against viruses, fungi, and intracellular bacteria, (4) tumor cell immunity, and (5) regulation of immune responses (Good and Gabrielson, 1964).


Bone Marrow Cell Thymic Epithelial Cell Thymic Tissue Kidney Capsule Thymic Involution 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katsuiku Hirokawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, Medical Research InstituteTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityYushima, Bunkyo-ku, TokyoJapan

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