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Haematopoietic precursors have to undergo a complex series of maturational steps in the thymus before they exit into the periphery as functional T lymphocytes. Thymic stroma cells, the majority being of epithelial origin, provide the functional partners for the maturational progression along this differentiation pathway. Here we review some of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that account for thymus organogenesis and discuss a strategy to use thymic epithelial precursor cells for the regeneration of the thymic microenvironment.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Swiss Med Wkly

Publication Date

10/06/2006

Volume

136

Pages

365 - 369

Keywords

Autoantigens, Epithelial Cells, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, Organogenesis, Regeneration, Signal Transduction, Stromal Cells, T-Lymphocytes, Thymus Gland