Thymic nurse cells (TNCs) are specialized epithelial cells that reside in the thymic cortex. The initial
report of their discovery in 1980 showed TNCs to contain up to 200 thymocytes within specialized vacuoles in
their cytoplasm. Much has been reported since that time to determine the function of this heterotypic
internalization event that exists between TNCs and developing thymocytes. In this review, we discuss the
literature reported that describes the internalization event and the role TNCs play during T cell development in
the thymus as well as why these multicellular complexes may be important in inhibiting the development of
Keywords: Thymic nurse cells, internalization, MHC restriction, lupus erythromatosus.
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