In the past decade the status of the thymus has changed from that of a lowly vestigial and functionless organ to one with important roles in infection, immune responses, autoimmune diseases, carcinogenesis, and, in the mouse and rat at least, lymphatic lymphoma. One of the early and distinguished workers in this area, Donald Metcalf, presents in this monograph, clear, succinct descriptions of the thymus, its known functions, its mechanisms of actions, as well as some speculations on presently unknown, theoretical functions.
Dr. Metcalf has handled exceedingly well the complex array of studies on the thymus. He has achieved his goal—presenting an account of the knowledge of the thymus and its functions that will serve as an introduction to this area for those whose chief interests are in other areas and for those beginning work in this area.
This is not an easy book to read. Its sentences are so replete