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J Parasitol Res. 2012;2012:574020. doi: 10.1155/2012/574020. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Thymus atrophy and double-positive escape are common features in infectious diseases.

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Laboratory on Thymus Research, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Avenue Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, 21045-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


The thymus is a primary lymphoid organ in which bone marrow-derived T-cell precursors undergo differentiation, leading to migration of positively selected thymocytes to the T-cell-dependent areas of secondary lymphoid organs. This organ can undergo atrophy, caused by several endogenous and exogenous factors such as ageing, hormone fluctuations, and infectious agents. This paper will focus on emerging data on the thymic atrophy caused by infectious agents. We present data on the dynamics of thymus lymphocytes during acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection, showing that the resulting thymus atrophy comprises the abnormal release of thymic-derived T cells and may have an impact on host immune response.

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