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Abstract

The effect of thymectomy at different ages in C3H mice on development of circulating leukocytes and cells of marrow, spleen and lymph nodes has been analyzed. Regardless of the age at which thymectomy is performed depression of numbers of circulating lymphocytes is produced. Thymectomy at birth did not affect significantly the relative number of lymphocytes in the marrow during the first few weeks of life, later they fell to low levels. Thymectomy at four weeks was followed by prompt reduction in relative numbers of lymphocytes in the marrow.

After reaching six weeks of age, neonatally thymectomized mice showed a high proportion of monocytes in the marrow. Neonatal thymectomy and thymectomy at two weeks of age reduced the number of eosinophils in the marrow.

Neonatal thymectomy inhibited development of lymphocytes in the spleen, whereas thymectomy later in life produced only transient depression of lymphocytes in this organ. In addition, neontal thymectomy decreased the relative numbers of small lymphocytes in the lymph nodes. This was associated with drastic depletion of lymphocytes in the deep cortical regions of the nodes.