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What happens to the thymus as individuals age?

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What happens to the thymus as individuals age?

Autoimmune Diseases

Many autoimmune diseases are believed to arise from problems that begin in the thymus. The thymus is the location where T cells are taught to bind foreign antigens but ignore self-antigens. When something goes wrong in this process, T cells are produced that bind antigens that are a normal part of the body. This can lead to immune attacks on healthy organs and tissues in the body, or what we refer to as autoimmune diseases.

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The thymus begins to shrink as individuals age. It starts to turn into adipose tissue in a process called thymic involution. As a result, a younger...

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Thymus: Definition, Functions & Location

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Chapter 49 / Lesson 12
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The human immune system is responsible for protecting the body from foreign invaders as well as internal problems. In this lesson, you will learn about part of the immune system known as the thymus.


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