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In Search of the Hagfish Thymus

HOLLISTON B. RIVIERE, EDWIN L. COOPER, A. L. REDDY, WILLIAM H. HILDEMANN
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/15.1.39 39-49 First published online: 1 February 1975

Abstract

The Pacific hagfish, Eptatretus stoutii, is capable of a variety of immunologic responses including allograft rejection and serum antibody production to soluble and cellular antigens. Interest has revived in the morphology of hagfish lymphoid tissues. The search for a thymus in young specimens has resulted in the discovery of a phagocytic and antigen-receptive cell population associated with the pharyngeal velar muscles. We suggest that a protothymus or precursor of the thymus of higher vertebrates may be contained within this velar muscle complex.

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