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Thymic epithelial cells constitute the major component of the thymus microenvironment responsible for maturation of immunocompetent T-cells. Differentiation of epithelial cells requires a series of stage- and site-specific cellular interactions. In the early stages of histogenesis of the thymus the interactions between pharyngeal endoderm and mesenchymal cells of neural crest take place. They are controlled by the activity of several genes and its products, transcription factors. Suppression of these genes results in various developmental changes in thymus. Next stage in the differentiation of epithelial cells is initiated by the process of colonisation of epithelial primordium of the thymus by lymphoid cells. The interactions between lymphoid and epithelial cells via several adhesion molecules and growth factors induce the process of differentiation and cause phenotypic changes both in thymocytes and epithelial cells. These interactions lead to the appearance of epithelial cell subpopulations and control microarchitecture of the thymus.
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The Editorial Board
Andrzej Łukaszyk - przewodniczący, Zofia Bielańska-Osuchowska, Szczepan Biliński, Mieczysław Chorąży, Aleksander Koj, Włodzimierz Korochoda, Leszek Kuźnicki, Aleksandra Stojałowska, Lech Wojtczak

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