MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light microscopy of the thymus gland displaying a lobular morphology with an outer dense cortex and inner lighter stained medulla. Red structures are blood vessels. Seeded with precursor white blood cells from bone marrow the thymus selects a tiny fraction for development into T lymphocytes essential for normal immune functions. The cortex teems with huge numbers of differentiating lymphocytes. The medulla provides final maturation steps prior to release of competent T cells into the general body circulation. With advancing age the thymus shrinks considerably and is slowly replaced by fibrofatty tissue. Magnification x25 when printed at 10 cm.
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