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The Thymus Gland

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This article reviews the embryology, physiology, and pathophysiology of the thymus. The anatomy of this lymphoid organ, the significance of the presence or absence of the thymus radiographically, and the role of the thymus in immunity are also reviewed. Finally, the pathologic presentation of thymic hypoplasia (DiGeorge syndrome) is discussed. Despite advances in modern science, little was known about the thymus, one of the body's key organs in the immune system, until 1961, when Dr. Jacques Miller performed thymectomies in mice. Then it became evident that the thymus played a key role in the body's defense against infection. Since that time, researchers have continued to examine the role of the thymus from fetal life through adulthood.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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