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Growth and regression of the germfree thymus


, : Growth and regression of the germfree thymus. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 118(1): 97-99

A comparison of the growth activity and regression of the thymus of germfree and conventional CFW mice shows that during the period of accelerated growth the conventional thymus grows significantly faster than the germfree thymus; the ratio triples in the conventional mouse during the first 24 hours after birth and only doubles in the germfree. Peak values are reached at 15 days in the germfree and at 16 days in the conventional, with the peak value for conventional significantly much higher than germfree statistically. The values of both decrease rapidly after 15-16 days until about 50 days. They reach a plateau near 100 days with values within the range of those found in the newborn. The thymus never completely disappears. There is no statistically significant difference in the curves from 20 days to the end of the period of observation (457 days), although the ratio in conventional animals always remains slightly larger than in the germfree. The decrease in the ratio of thymus weight to body weight between 16 and 50 days probably reflects a combination of more rapid increase in body weight and deceleration of thymus growth rate. Actual regression of the thymus begins at 50 days and reaches a plateau around 200 days.

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