PMID: 13949053Nov 1, 1962Paper

The role of the thymus in development of immunologic capacity in rabbits and mice

The Journal of Experimental Medicine


In rabbits, complete thymectomy before the age of 5 days produced immunologic deficiency in the adult animals, as indicated by reduced antibody production to bovine serum albumin and bacteriophage T(2). Homotransplantation immunity was unaffected, however. In an inbred strain of mice, complete neonatal thymectomy resulted in complete inability of the 60-day-old animals to form antibody to bacteriophage T(2). Inbred mice, completely thymectomized at birth, had a deficient homograft response, indicated by acceptance of skin homografts from strains differing in both the weaker and stronger (H-2) histocompatibility antigens. Tumor transplants (mammary adenocarcinoma) were also successful across the H-2 genetic barrier in mice thymectomized at birth. Neonatal thymectomy also eliminated the Eichwald-Silmser phenomenon, rendering female mice capable of accepting isografts of male skin. Transplantation immunity in mice was also affected by later thymectomy, at 30 days of age, in certain strain combinations involving weak histocompatibility differences. Spleen and lymph node cells from mice thymectomized at birth or at 6 days of age, and sacrificed 2 months later, did not produce a graft versus host reaction in appropriate F(1) hybrid r...Continue Reading


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