Thymic output, ageing and zinc.

Wayne A. Mitchell, Irene Meng, Stuart A. Nicholson, Richard Aspinall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The role of the thymus is vital for orchestration of T-cell development and maturation. With increasing age the thymus undergoes a process of involution which results in a reduction in thymic size, function and output. Until relatively recent it was not feasible to accurately measure the magnitude of age-related loss of thymic function. With the discovery of T-cell receptor excision circles (TRECs), which are the stable by-products of the newly generated T-cells, it is now possible to quantitatively measure the extent of thymic output. This review examines the available data on immune function and zinc deficiency and places them in the context of the aims of the ZINCAGE project which include the evaluation of the role played by zinc in maintaining thymic output in healthy elderly individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-470
Number of pages10
Issue number5-6
Early online date9 Sept 2006
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Zinc
  • Recent thymic emigrants
  • Immune system
  • T-cell development
  • Zinc deficiency
  • TREC
  • Ageing
  • Thymic output

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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