The discovery of thymus function and of thymus‐derived lymphocytes

@article{Miller2002TheDO,
  title={The discovery of thymus function and of thymus‐derived lymphocytes},
  author={J. F. Miller},
  journal={Immunological Reviews},
  year={2002},
  volume={185}
}
  • J. Miller
  • Published 1 July 2002
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Immunological Reviews
Summary: For centuries the thymus remained an enigmatic organ with unknown functions. The first demonstration of its crucial role in establishing the development of a normal immune system was provided in 1961, when it was shown that mice thymectomized immediately after birth had poorly developed lymphoid tissues, impaired immune responses and inordinate susceptibility to intercurrent infections. Although thymus lymphocytes were believed to be immunoincompetent, it was shown in 1967 that they… 
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The thymus develops from an endocrine area of the foregut, and retains the ancient potencies of this region. However, later it is populated by bone marrow originated lymphatic elements and forms a
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This work has shown that the differentiation of T helper cells is triggered by TCR activation, but the specification towards specific lineages is also determined by other signals such as cytokines, which are small immunomodulating molecules released from immune cells.
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