At 16 weeks of age, 13 percent of untreated Buffalo strain rats showed evidence of autoimmune thyroiditis. Feeding methylcholanthrene increased the incidence to 42 percent. Neonatal thymectomy significantly raised the incidence of disease so that almost all (87 percent) untreated and all methylcholanthrene-treated animals developed severe disease. It is proposed that the thymus exerts a regulatory effect on autosensitization.
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