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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 574020, 9 pages
Review Article

Thymus Atrophy and Double-Positive Escape Are Common Features in Infectious Diseases

1Laboratory on Thymus Research, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Avenue Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, 21045-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Department of Immunology, Microbiology Institute, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 21941-590 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 16 August 2011; Accepted 20 October 2011

Academic Editor: Mauricio M. Rodrigues

Copyright © 2012 Juliana de Meis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The thymus is a primary lymphoid organ in which bone marrow-derived T-cell precursors undergo differentiation, leading to migration of positively selected thymocytes to the T-cell-dependent areas of secondary lymphoid organs. This organ can undergo atrophy, caused by several endogenous and exogenous factors such as ageing, hormone fluctuations, and infectious agents. This paper will focus on emerging data on the thymic atrophy caused by infectious agents. We present data on the dynamics of thymus lymphocytes during acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection, showing that the resulting thymus atrophy comprises the abnormal release of thymic-derived T cells and may have an impact on host immune response.