Formation of Hassall's corpuscles in vitro by the thymic epithelial cell line IT-26 R 21 of the rat

T. Itoh, S. Kasahara, S. Aizu, K. Kato, M. Takeuchi, T. Mori

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18 Citations (Scopus)


In the monolayer of an established epithelial cell line from the rat thymus, IT-26R21, characteristic cell aggregates quite similar to Hassall's corpuscles were formed. These aggregates were examined by light and electron microscopy, and immunohistochemically. Their interpretation as Hassall's corpuscles is based on the following observations: (1) The aggregates are formed in the monolayer of cells that greatly resemble medullary epithelial cells of the thymus. (2) They consist of flattened epithelial cells in a concentric pattern with one or more degenerating cells in the center. (3) Loss of microvilli suggests that these cells are keratinizing. (4) The aggregates show strongly positive reactions in immunofluorescent staining with antikeratin and antiprekeratin. When Hassall's corpuscles increase in size, cellular proliferation is somewhat suppressed. Both in vivo and in vitro, they may be interpreted as an expression of a changing growth pattern in confined spaces and thus seem to have little immunological function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-476
Number of pages8
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1982 Oct 1


  • Cell line
  • Epithelium
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Thymus gland
  • Tissue culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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