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So B is for thymus, too?

So B is for thymus, too?

Are there B lymphocytes alive and well and living in the thymus gland? The answer is yes, say scientists from the University College and Middlesex School of Medicine and Brompton Hospital in London. If so, the production of B lymphocytes in the thymus gland could tweak traditional immunology.

While the thymus gland has long been considered the executive director of T-lymphocyte production, B lymphocytes are thought to come from the bone marrow in humans. But there apparently is a distinct population of B cells produced by the thymus, report Peter G. Isaacson, Andrew J. Norton and Bruce J. Addis in the Dec. 26 LANCET. The scientists looked for the cells after finding a type of B-cell cancer that starts in the thymus. Isaacson said in an interview that tissue-staining techniques show that the B cells in question are active and have a distinct set of antigens on their surface--evidence that they aren't just "passing through" in the blood. He suggests that the cells may act as messengers by presenting antigens to T cells. Thus far, he says, immunologists have reacted to the findings with "a curious silence."
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Title Annotation:production of B lymphocyes in thymus gland
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 16, 1988
Words:193
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