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Article
August 31, 1935

THE ALLERGIC THEORY OF SO-CALLED THYMIC DEATH

JAMA. 1935;105(9):657-660. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760350017006
Abstract

In the lymphoid structures in cases of so-called thymic death Symmers1 described areas which he held to be indicative of anaphylactic changes. Hammar2 suggested repeatedly a state of unusual sensitivity as an underlying factor in so-called thymic death. Yet the anaphylactic conception of "thymic death" has not gained adherents very rapidly. This, I believe, is due to three facts: 1. Until recently, anaphylactic shock has been held to be a phenomenon occurring only in animals—not in man. 2. It was not believed to be produced by ways other than injection. 3. It was thought to be always associated with antigens of protein nature. That such irritants as drugs, anesthetics and thermic and even mechanical stimuli were involved in the production of thymic death seemed to weigh heavily against this theory.

Yet there are various observations that suggest an association of the thymic death problem with allergy. For many

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