Inflammation and Thymus Ageing

A. Lepletier, A. Alsharif, Ann P. Chidgey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The thymus is primarily responsible for T cell production. However, it begins to recede in size and function, from early in life. This decreased generation of naive T cells during normal thymus ageing, or linked with pathology (i.e. chronic inflammation), leads to reduced T cell specificities, peripheral T cell imbalances, and higher susceptibilities to infections. Various clinical strategies for thymus and T cell recovery have been investigated, although no effective clinical treatments for the reconstitution of peripheral T cell diversity in severe immune deficiencies are available. The recent identification of thymic epithelial progenitor cells (TEPC) in the adult thymus will enable investigations into a new generation of therapies focused on regenerating the thymic microenvironment for diverse specificity T cell reconstitution in the elderly. The specific mechanisms underlying TEPC activation are still being investigated. Recent data point to an important role of the intrathymic transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) circuitry. Although dual actions of this cytokine have been reported in the immune system, TGF-β signaling is transiently activated in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells during hematopoietic regeneration. This review investigates the current strategies for thymus reactivation to replenish the peripheral T cell repertoire and potentially reverse the age-related inflammatory milieu.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEndocrine Immunology
EditorsWilson Savino, Frederica Guaraldi
PublisherS Karger AG
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783318060140
ISBN (Print)9783318060133
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Publication series

NameFrontiers of Hormone Research
ISSN (Print)0301-3073


  • thymus, immune ageing, inflammation

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