Lymphoid tissue of the body is prominent at birth, and grows rapidly during childhood. The growth ceases at about the time of puberty, and is followed by partial atrophy in the later years. This growth pattern is shared by lymph nodes, thymus, tonsils, lymphoid tissue of the intestines, and the follicles of spleen.
However, the lymph nodes may enlarge again in response to inflammation (lymphadenitis) or tumor formation (Hodgkin’s disease, lymphosarcoma, etc.). Lymph nodes are commonly enlarged by metastasis (spread) of the malignant growths (carcinoma).