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Trends Immunol. 2009 Jul;30(7):295-300. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

Why does the thymus involute? A selection-based hypothesis.

Author information

1
Immunology Division, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.

Abstract

Thymic involution remains a fundamental mystery in immunology. Here we present an argument that this seemingly counterproductive behavior may have evolved to allow for peripheral selection of a T-cell repertoire during young-adult life, optimized for fighting infections and avoiding reaction to self. Age-associated decline in immune function may be viewed as an unfortunate side effect of this selective process. Thus, the key to understanding thymic involution might lie in a more quantitative understanding of T-cell homeostasis in the periphery.

PMID:
19540805
DOI:
10.1016/j.it.2009.04.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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