Rat Thymus Micro-Environment: An Ultrastructural and Functional Characterization
The thymus micro-environment triggers and regulates prolifera-tion and differentiation of thymocytes, which give rise to a population of immunocompetent T-lymphocytes in peripheral lymphoid tissue. Histologically and functionally different areas can be distinguished in the thymus. The cortex predominantly comprises closely packed proliferating thymocytes. In the medulla immunocompetent T-lymphocytes are present (1) intermingled with voluminous nonlymphoid cells. This suggests that the thymus is a central lymphoid organ, in which the pathway of thymocyte maturation is from cortex to medulla. However, the thymus medulla has also been suggested to be an area with peripheral lymphoid tissue characteristics (2). This paper draws up ultrastructural and immunological aspects of the rat thymus micro-environment with respect to thymus function.
KeywordsNonspecific Esterase Outer Cortex Epithelial Compartment Peripheral Lymphoid Tissue Medullary Area
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