Modeling positive and negative selection and differentiation processes in the thymus

Ramit Mehr, Amiela Globerson, Alan S. Perelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


T cells begin their development as precursor cells in the bone marrow. These cells migrate to the thymus, where they further divide, differentiate, and mature into functional T cells. Most thymocytes (95-99%) die in the course of this process, and only relatively few exit the thymus as mature cells. Here we develop a differential equation model of cell proliferation, differentiation and death in the thymus that can account for both the total number of thymus cells and the fractions of various types of immature and mature thymocytes. Our model suggests that positive and negative selection may have more complex effects than simply deleting some cells and allowing others to survive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-126
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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