ThymusJAMA A mass of glandular tissue located in the neck or chest of most vertebrates. Found in the upper chest under the breastbone in humans, the thymus is essential to the development of the body's system of immunity beginning in fetal life (ie, before birth). The thymus processes white blood cells, known as lymphocytes, that kill foreign cells and stimulate other immune cells to produce antibodies. The gland grows throughout childhood until puberty and then gradually decreases in size. See also Antibodies; Lymphocyte.
Thymus (adjective Thymic):SFAF
a lymphoid organ located in the chest
behind the sternum. The thymus is a source of T-lymphocytes in children,
but generally shrinks during adolescence. The thymus is the site of T-lymphocyte
differentiation, where the cells learn to recognize antigens. The thymus
produces some 30 hormones or thymic factors (e.g., thymodulin, thymopentin,
thymostimulin) that are involved in the regulation of immune function.
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