Thymus( thymus gland): functions, diseases and their treatment

Such a small organ in the human body and some other mammals, like the thymus( thymus gland), carries the main burden of "training" the cells of the immune system. Its maximum size this gland reaches in the pubertal period, and to old age decreases, gradually atrophying. About what it is - the thymus, and what function the thymus gland performs, you will learn in this article.

Hormones of the thymus( thymus gland) and their action

The thymus, or thymus gland, is located in the upper part of the chest, just behind the breastbone( the upper part of the anterior mediastinum).This is a small gland of pinkish-gray color, soft consistency, its surface is lobed.

As seen in the photo, the thymus( thymus gland) consists of two lobes that can be fused or simply snugly attached to each other:

The lower part of each lobe is wide and the upper part narrow;Thus, the upper pole may resemble a two-pronged fork( hence the name).Its maximum size is 7.5 to 16 centimeters in length, weight is 20-37 grams. Thymus reaches them at the beginning of puberty, later gradually decreases, and at old and senile age atrophies.

This organ is a gland of mixed secretion. The main functions of the thymus( thymus gland) are the allocation of immune cells of blood T-lymphocytes and hormones thymosin, thymine, thymopoietin and others.

Thymus Thymus ( thymus gland) thymosin increases the number of lymphocytes in the blood, strengthens immune responses, and also affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and calcium( the action is similar to parathyroid hormone), regulates the growth of the skeleton.

Timalin regulates the number and ratio of T- and B-lymphocytes( the blood constituents responsible for the formation of cellular and tissue protective forces of the organism) and their subpopulations, stimulates cellular immunity( cellular protective forces), enhances phagocytosis( active seizure and destructionphagocytes, blood cells, pathogenic microorganisms), stimulates regeneration and hematopoiesis in the event of their inhibition, and also improves the processes of cellular metabolism.

Timopoietin controls the differentiation of T-lymphocytes.

The central place in the immune reactions of the body belongs to lymphocytes. They are able to recognize specific antigens, which bear on their shells pathogenic bacteria.

The precursors of lymphocytes, like other blood cells, are bone marrow stem cells. In the embryonic period, the precursors of lymphocytes leave the bone marrow and colonize the primary lymphoid organs( thymus, fetal liver).In the thymus proliferation and differentiation of immunocompetent cells, the so-called T-lymphocytes. These cells penetrate the secondary lymphoid organs( spleen, lymph nodes, lymphoepithelial tissue associated with the intestine, tonsils, Peyer's patches, appendix).

They are divided into cells that interact directly with the bacterium( T-killers) and ancillary cells( helper cells, suppressor cells, lymphokine-secreting cells).

Another class of lymphocytes - B-lymphocytes - is synthesized in the bone marrow.

In addition to lymphocytes, the most important element of the immune system are phagocytic cells( macrophages and microphages) that can capture pathogens and digest them.

Secretion of thymic hormones is reduced by the action of glucocorticoids - the hormones of the adrenal cortex - and is increased by melatonin and growth hormone.

Thymic diseases: symptoms of hypofunction and hyperthyroidism of the thymus

Thymic hypofunction develops with Di Georgi syndrome, or congenital primary thymus aplasia. This is a rare genetic disease with an autosomal dominant type of inheritance. Atrophy of the thymus with it, as a rule, is combined with aplasia of the parathyroid glands. Also, this thymic disease is often accompanied by congenital anomalies of large vessels and heart defects( defects of the aorta, tetralogy of Fallot).

One of the permanent symptoms of this disease of the thymus gland is candidiasis( fungal skin damage), which develops due to immunodeficiency, as well as high frequency and severe course of various infections. With this disease of the thymus, there are anomalies in the development of the nose, mouth, and ears. The consequence of aplasia of the parathyroid glands is hypocalcemic convulsions and developing heart failure.

In the analysis of blood in this disease of the thymus gland is determined lymphocytopenia, hypocalcemia, hypogammaglobulinemia.

Treatment. Substitution and symptomatic therapy. We use drugs that normalize calcium metabolism, immunomodulators. Heart defects require surgical treatment.

Hyperfunction or tumor of the thymus is called thymoma, it consists of epithelial cells of the thymus and lymphocytes. More often benign and often encapsulated. The patient is disturbed by cough, dysphagia, and chest pain. In a third of cases, the tumor manifests itself as autoimmune diseases. Unlike hypofunction, the thymic hyperfunction can sometimes be asymptomatic. Treatment operative.

Preparations from the hormones of the thymus( thymus gland)

Preparations from thymus hormones are used in adults and children as an immunomodulator( a substance that affects the protective forces of the body) and a biostimulator( a substance that increases the metabolism that stimulates the defenses of the body) in conditions and diseases,accompanied by a decrease in immunity, including in acute and chronic purulent-inflammatory diseases of bones and soft tissues.

Also preparations from thymus hormones are prescribed for acute and chronic viral and bacterial infections;violation of regenerative( recovery) processes( bone fractures, burn disease and frostbite, trophic ulcers, radiation necrosis of tissues, peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum);bronchial asthma;Multiple sclerosis( a systemic disease of the membranes of the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord).

In addition, these drugs are recommended for obliterating endarteritis( inflammation of the inner shell of the arteries of the limbs with a decrease in their lumen);rheumatoid arthritis( an infectious-allergic disease from the group of collagens characterized by chronic progressive inflammation of the joints).

Another area of ​​application of drugs from the thymus hormones - the conditions associated with hypothyroidism of the thymus gland, with the suppression of immunity and hematopoiesis after radiation therapy or chemotherapy in cancer patients and in other conditions.

Also, drugs are used to prevent infectious and other complications in the post-traumatic and postoperative periods, in the process of radiotherapy or chemotherapy, when administering large doses of antibiotics.

Treatment of thymus gland( thymus) folk remedies

Thymus diseases should be treated by doctors. But you can help a healthy thymus by taking herbal remedies that strengthen immunity. In alternative treatment of the thymus gland folk remedies use the following medicinal preparations.

Rosehip and black currant.

1 tbsp.l. Blends taken in equal parts of the hips and black currant fruit pour 2 cups of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, infuse for 2 hours in a well sealed container. Take 1/2 cup 3 times a day.

Rosehip and mountain ash.

1 tbsp.l. Blends taken in equal parts of rose hips and mountain ash pour 2 cups of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, infuse 4 hours in a well sealed container. When folk treatment of thymus gland take this dose of 1/2 cup 3 times a day.

Rosehip and cowberry.

1 tbsp.l.mixture taken in equal parts of the hips and bilberry fruits pour 2 cups of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, infuse 4 hours in a well sealed container. Take 1/2 cup 3 times a day. Nettle and rowan.

1 tbsp.l.mixture of 3 parts of nettle and 7 parts of mountain ash to brew with two glasses of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, infuse 4 hours in a well sealed container. Take 1/2 cup 3 times a day. Rosehip and raspberry.

1 tbsp.l. Blends taken in equal parts of the hips and raspberry fruit pour 2 cups of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, infuse for 2 hours in a well sealed container. Take 1/2 cup 2-3 times a day.

Collecting vitamin from dried leaves and fruits.

2 tbsp.l.mixtures taken in equal parts of rose hips, raspberry leaves, black currant leaves, cranberry leaves brew 1 glass of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, infuse 4 hours in a well sealed container. Take 1/2 cup 3 times a day.