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Immunity. 1999 May;10(5):569-75.

Generation of functional thymocytes in the human adult.

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Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California 90095-1678, USA.


Reconstituting the immune response will be critical for the survival of HIV-infected individuals once viral load is brought under control. While the adult thymus was previously thought to be relatively inactive, new data suggest it may play a role in T cell reconstitution. We examined thymopoiesis in adults up to 56 years of age and found active T cell receptor (TCR) rearrangement, generating a diverse TCR Vbeta repertoire. The resulting thymocytes are functional and are capable of responding to costimulatory signals. These data demonstrate that the adult thymus remains active late in life and contributes functional T cells to the peripheral lymphoid pool.

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