Effect of thymectomy on cellular immune function

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jun 1;16:3036-42. doi: 10.2741/3896.


The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of thymectomy during open heart surgery on immunological function of T lymphocytes in the treatment of children with congenital heart disease (CHD). No significant difference was found in the sjTREC level between pre-thymectomy and post- thymectomy in the non-thymectomy group and the small partial resection group (P>0.05) However, the sjTREC level decreased from the pre-surgical level at 1 month (P<0.01) and 12 months (P<0.01) in the sub-total resection group. No differences were found in proportions of CD3, CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes, proliferative ability of lymphocytes and expression of IL-2, IL-4 and IFN-γ after surgery between controls and three groups of patients (P>0.05). In the sub-total resection group, respiratory infection frequency (4.7±1.7 times) did not differ significantly from control group one year after surgery (P>0.05); however, mean days of anti-infection were significantly increased (P less than 0.01). In conclusion, sub-total thymectomy leads to a decrease in the sjTREC level in CHD children, whereas the function of peripheral mature T lymphocytes is normal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Rearrangement, T-Lymphocyte
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / immunology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular* / genetics
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Thymectomy / adverse effects*


  • Cytokines