Neonatal Thymectomy Increases the Incidence of Spontaneous and Methylcholanthrene-Enhanced Thyroiditis in Rats

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Science  12 Apr 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4133, pp. 162-163
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4133.162


At 16 weeks of age, 13 percent of untreated Buffalo strain rats showed evidence of autoimmune thyroiditis. Feeding methylcholanthrene increased the incidence to 42 percent. Neonatal thymectomy significantly raised the incidence of disease so that almost all (87 percent) untreated and all methylcholanthrene-treated animals developed severe disease. It is proposed that the thymus exerts a regulatory effect on autosensitization.