Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 376, Issue 1, pp 19–24 | Cite as

The thymus is relevant in the migration of mature lymphocytes

  • Reinhard PabstEmail author
Mini Review


The thymus is a primary lymphoid organ where T lymphocyte proliferation and selection takes place. The different subsets of lymphocytes leave the thymus as recent thymic emigrants. Peripheral dendritic cells migrate to the thymus. In addition to the homing of hematopoietic progenitor cells to the thymus, there is evidence for lymphocyte entry from peripheral lymphoid tissues mainly into the medulla. The entry sites are the venules in the medullary part near to the cortex with a higher endothelium. Furthermore, there are also B lymphocytes in the thymus. The thymus is not only a primary lymphoid organ but is well integrated in lymphocyte traffic as shown in several different species.


Thymus Medulla Lymphocyte entry Peripheral lymphoid organs B lymphocytes 



Gesellschaft der Freunde der Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover supported the work on this review. The help with the figures by M. Peter and the secretarial assistance of S. Wallbaum and S. Fryk for polishing the English are gratefully acknowledged.

Funding information

The original experiments had been supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) by several grants.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Immunomorphology, Centre of AnatomyMedical School HannoverHannoverGermany

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