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The Thymus Gland and Aging

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Grant support: in part by grants AG 00239 and AG 00541, National Institutes of Health.

Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(1):105-107. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-98-1-105_2
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Twenty years ago R.A. Good (1) and J.F.A.P. Miller (2) discovered the immunologic function of the thymus gland. These investigators showed that the removal of the thymus early in life prevented the normal development of the immune system. The functions of the thymus are now recognized to include secretion of polypeptide hormones and the differentiation of precursor T lymphocytes that migrate to the gland from the bone marrow.

Thirty years before the function of the thymus gland had been discovered, Edith Boyd (3) found that the human thymus undergoes a striking involution beginning at sexual maturity. By middle age the



aging ; thymus gland

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