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The thymus is an organ located just behind the central breast bone (sternum) in the front part of the chest. It is in a part of the chest known as the anteriormediastinum, the space in the chest between the lungs that also contains the heart, part of the aorta, the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach), part of the trachea (windpipe), and many lymph nodes. The thymus sits just in front of and above the heart.
The thymus is special in that, unlike most organs, it is at its largest in children. Once you reach puberty, the thymus starts to slowly shrink and become replaced by fat. Fortunately, the thymus produces all of our T cells by the time we reach puberty.
The thymus produces and secretesthymosin, a hormone necessary for T cell development and production. It helps the body protect itself against autoimmunity, which occurs when the immune system turns against itself.