IT has been shown by a series of experiments1-8 that the thymus plays an active and significant part in polysaccharide metabolism. It was demonstrated1,3,4,8 that, unlike other lymphatic organs, stress and processes of tissue proliferation induced the emigration of cells from, and a mast-cell reaction in, the thymus. This reaction was preceded by the appearance of periodic acid-Schiff-positive cysts and of thymocytes containing periodic acid-Schiff-positive matter. It was possible to confirm these findings by demonstrating in tissue cultures2 that the cells of the thymus showed a marked affinity for heparin5 and decomposed heparin2, which was much stronger than that of other cells (liver, spleen, heart, kidney) and even more pronounced than the heparin affinity of the lymph node, which ranks, in this respect, next to the thymus. Although these experiments revealed the prominent role of this organ in the metabolism of mucopolysaccharides, it seemed necessary to measure this activity by means of a more exact method.
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