The thymus gland is located between the lobes of the lungs in the upper chest cavity.

Thymus gland location

Thymus Gland

  • Two lobes located between the sternum and the heart
  • Thymocytes produce hormones
  • Atrophies with age (starting ~20)

Thymus gland structure function

Thymus Structure/Function

Outer cortex - immature T cells

  • screened for functional capacity
  • stimulated to proliferation
  • stimulated to maturation

Inner medulla

  • defective T cells degenerate
  • mature T cells move into blood

This part of the immune system is especially active in young children.

The thymus gland produces thymosin, a hormone that stimulates the production and maturation of lymphocytes into T cells. The thymus gland normally disappears after puberty. (In adults, lymphocytes continue to be produced by the spleen and lymph glands.)

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