Role of Hassall’s corpuscles in T cell development
After being first described by Arthur Hill Hassall about 170 years ago, Hassall’s corpuscles raised curiosity in the minds of many researchers. These fascinating structures are located in thymic medulla and for a long time their exact function had been an unanswered question. Recent advancements in research has shown that they play a role in the maturation and development of thymocytes in thymus. They are known to express cytokines, chemokines and other proteins suggesting that they interact with antigen presenting cells and are actively involved in the development of T cells. Many diseases related to auto-immunity were found to vary from the normal condition, in the context of morphology of these structures, making it important to understand the nature and role of these bodies in the human thymus. The review highlights some of the current findings related to the structure and function of Hassall’s corpuscles throwing more light upon their role in the development of T cells.
The Thymus is a pinkish, lobulated organ that is located posterior to the sternum. The main function of the thymus is to process lymphocytes. It is an organ that undergoes involution; around the time of puberty it degenerates. Thymic involution is important as it is believed to be linked to immunosenescence and its associated diseases. Much study has been done to understand the cause and mechanism of thymic degeneration in the hope