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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-10

Polymorphism of Hassall's corpuscles in thymus of human fetuses

1 Department of Anatomy, HIMSR, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Anatomy, JNMC, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Adil Asghar
C/o- Dr. S.M. Yunus, Department of Anatomy, JN Medical College, AMU, Aligarh - 202 002, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-516X.96791

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Background : Hassall's corpuscles (HC) are commonly used as diagnostic features for identifying human thymus and are still present in thymuses undergoing fatty degeneration in young adults. However, few studies have been performed on human fetuses. Aim: A cross-sectional study was done, to study the morphology of HC in human fetuses. Materials and Methods : Twenty-eight thymuses were collected from fetuses of gestational age ranging from 11 to 40 weeks. Thymuses were processed by paraffin embedding methods and hematoxylin and eosin staining. Results : The size of HC varied from very small (100 microns) to very large corpuscles (> 900 microns). A high level of polymorphism was also observed, from round to unusual or odd shapes corpuscles. The degenerated reticulo-epithelial cells represented the starting point in HC formation. The growth of HC was rapid, especially near 28 weeks, and the level of HC polymorphism was significantly greater after 28 weeks of gestation. In advanced stages of gestation, the increase in size of some corpuscles reduced the spaces between them, and some patterns strongly supported the hypothesis that some HC had fused in a single and larger corpuscle. Conclusion : The rapid rise in number and size of HC around 28 weeks of gestation would fit with their role in the negative selection process of thymocytes.

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