U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Skip to Main Navigation
Skip to Page Content
Skip to Atlas Navigation

Thymus - Hyperplasia, Epithelial

Image of hyperplasia, epithelial in the thymus from a male B6C3F1/N mouse in a chronic study
Thymus - Hyperplasia, Epithelial in a male B6C3F1 mouse from a chronic study. Hyperplastic epithelial cells form tubules (arrow) and cords (arrowhead) within the thymus medulla.
Figure 1 of 2
Image of hyperplasia, epithelial in the thymus from a male B6C3F1/N mouse in a chronic study
Thymus - Hyperplasia, Epithelial (higher magnification of Figure 1). Tubules formed by hyperplastic epithelial cells contain eosinophilic secretory material (arrow).
Figure 2 of 2
next arrow


Epithelial hyperplasia is often associated with involution and/or atrophy of the thymus and may occur at relatively high incidences in some rodent strains. Thymic epithelial hyperplasia is found in the medulla and may be focal to diffuse. Epithelial cells are cuboidal to columnar, have paler-staining abundant cytoplasm, and may be ciliated. They often form tubules ( Figure 1image opens in a pop-up window , arrow), ribbons, or cords ( Figure 1image opens in a pop-up window , arrowhead). Tubules can contain variable amounts of eosinophilic secretory material ( Figure 2image opens in a pop-up window , arrow). Epithelial changes are more prominent in females than in males and in rats more so than in mice. Pleomorphic variations of thymic epithelial hyperplasia are similar to the spectrum of cellular forms of thymoma. Consequently, thymic epithelial hyperplasia may be difficult to distinguish from early, benign thymomas. However, thymomas are nodular and compressing, whereas hyperplasias are not.


Epithelial hyperplasia in the thymus should be diagnosed and graded when not associated with involution.


Elmore SA. 2006. Enhanced histopathology of the thymus. Toxicol Pathol 34:656-665.
Full Text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1800589/

Frith CH, Ward JM, Brown RH, Tyler RD, Chandra M, Stromberg PC. 1996. Proliferative lesions of the hematopoietic and lymphatic systems in rats. HL-1. In: Guides for Toxicologic Pathology. STP/ARP/AFIP, Washington, DC.

National Toxicology Program. 1998. NTP TR-477. Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of 1-Chloro-2-Propanol (Technical Grade) (CAS No. 127-00-4) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F1 Mice (Drinking Water Studies). NTP, Research Triangle Park, NC.
Abstract: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/9756

Pearse G. 2006. Histopathology of the thymus. Toxicol Pathol 34:515-547.
Full Text: http://tpx.sagepub.com/content/34/5/515.long

Stefanski SA, Elwell MR, Stromberg PC. 1990. Spleen, lymph nodes, and thymus. In: Pathology of the Fischer Rat: Reference and Atlas (Boorman GA, Eustis SL, Elwell MR, Montgomery CA, MacKenzie WF, eds). Academic Press, San Diego, 369-394.

Ward JM, Mann PC, Morishima H, Frith CH. 1999. Thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes. In: Pathology of the Mouse (Maronpot RR, ed). Cache River Press, Vienna, IL, 333-360.