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Details for anatomical structure: thymus

EndoNet ID: ENC00144

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thymus, , Thymus

General information

Glandular structure, mostly of lymphoid tissue, whose function is not yet quite certain; it derives from the epithelium of one or more embryonic branchial clefts and is sited in the upper frontal part of the chest or at the base of the neck

Links to other resources

Cytomer cy0047534

Larger structures

  • parts_of_human_body
  • immune_system


  • helper_T_cell_Th1
  • killer_T_cell
  • thymocyte
  • helper_T_cell_Th2
  • T-lymphocyte
  • lymphocyte
  • suppressor_T_cell
  • mesenchyme_cell
  • macrophage
  • fibroblast

Secreted hormones

  • Hormone: lipocalin 2

    • NGAL was found in a variety of normal and pathological human tissues (cell type-specific pattern of expression in bronchus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, kidney, prostate gland, and thymus). [1]
  • Hormone: LIF

    • Human thymic epithelial cells produce numerous cytokines including IL1, IL6, TGF alpha, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), M-CSF, G-CSF and GM-CSF- molecules that likely play important roles in multiple stages of thymocyte selection, activation and differentiation. [2]
  • Hormone: thymopoietin

  • Hormone: PDGFC

  • Hormone: CXCL11

  • Hormone: MCP-2

  • Hormone: MDC

  • Hormone: MIP-3 beta

  • Hormone: MIP-3 alpha

  • Hormone: TARC

  • Hormone: MCP-4

  • Hormone: TECK

    • Specifically expressed by thymic dendritic cells. [4]
  • Hormone: TECKvar

    • Specifically expressed by thymic dendritic cells. [4]
  • Hormone: CCL27

  • Hormone: HCC-4

  • Hormone: MCH

  • Hormone: galectin-1

  • Hormone: sFRP-2

  • Hormone: BAFF

  • Hormone: DHH

  • Hormone: defensin alpha 1

  • Hormone: SEMA4D

  • Hormone: CXCL16

  • Hormone: stem cell growth factor

  • Hormone: SECTM1

  • Hormone: Cystatin-C

  • Hormone: leukocystatin

  • Hormone: uteroglobin

  • Hormone: FGF-23

  • Hormone: FGF-21

  • Hormone: GDF-3

  • Hormone: BD-1

  • Hormone: SMOC-1 isoform 1

  • Hormone: insulin-like peptide INSL5

  • Hormone: CD5L

  • Hormone: RANKL

  • Hormone: Oxytocin-Neurophysin 1

    • The Neuropeptide oxytocin is synthesized in the human thymus in a similar manner as in the hypothalamic-neurohypophyseal system. [5]
  • Hormone: antidiuretic hormone

    • The neuropeptide vasopressin is synthesized in the human thymus in a similar manner as in the hypothalamic-neurohypophyseal system. [5]


  • Receptor: histamine H4 receptor

  • Receptor: EP4

  • Receptor: TLR10

  • Receptor: TNFRSF13C

    • Northern blot analysis on human tissues revealed that TNFRSF13C is expressed as a 4.5-kb mRNA in the secondary lymphoid organs. Low levels of TNFRSF13C mRNAwere detected in the thymus. [6]

    Induced phenotype:

    • negative regulation of lymphocyte apoptosis
      • TNFRSF13C has a important role in mediating normal immune function. [7]
      • Mice expressing a mutant form of this receptor show severe defects in B-cell development and survival and in T lymphocate-dependent immune respose. [8]
  • Receptor: PLXND1

  • Receptor: apelin receptor

  • Receptor: NMU-R2

  • Receptor: PACAP-R-1

    Induced phenotype:

    • negative regulation of chemotaxis
      • PACAP decreases chemotaxis of thymocytes and splenic lymphocytes through activation of the PKA pathway . [9]
  • Receptor: IL-10R-alpha

  • Receptor: IL-18R1

  • Receptor: TACI

  • Receptor: CCR9

  • Receptor: CCR4

  • Receptor: ROBO1

  • Receptor: DR4

  • Receptor: TNFRSF25

    • TNFRSF25 expression is restricted predominantly to lymphoid tissues, thymus. [10]

    Induced phenotype:

    • positive regulation of thymocyte apoptosis
      • TNFRS25 might be involved in negative thymic selection. [10]
  • Receptor: CHRNA1-2

  • Receptor: MRC2

  • Receptor: PRLR

  • Receptor: Lysophosphatidic acid receptor 2

  • Receptor: Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 4

  • Receptor: Probable G-protein coupled receptor 132

  • Receptor: Lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1

  • Receptor: Lysophosphatidic acid receptor 4

  • Receptor: Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1

  • Receptor: Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 2

    Induced phenotype:

    • positive regulation of chemotaxis
      • S1P and its S1P1 receptor control emigration of thymocytes into the blood flow and the recirculation and tissue distribution of T and B cells exerting direct chemotactic effects. [11]
  • Receptor: Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 3

  • Receptor: Psychosine receptor

  • Receptor: OTR

    Induced phenotype:

    • thymocyte proliferation
      • The neurohypophysial peptides have been shown to trigger thymocyte proliferation and could induce immune tolerance of this conserved neuroendocrine family [12]
  • Receptor: V1b

    Induced phenotype:

    • regulation of T cell differentiation
      • Thymic oxytocin and vasopressin might play an active role in T cell differentiation and activation. [5]
  • Receptor: glucocorticoid receptor

    • The thymus contains one of the highest concentrations of GR in the body, whereas it does not express MR. [13]
  • Receptor: Interleukin-22 receptor subunit alpha-1

    • issues that gave positive signals included placenta, skin, inflamed appendix, lung, gastrointestinal tract, lymph node, thymus, and spleen [14]