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from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lymphocyte, from the thymus, that can recognise specific antigens and can activate or deactivate other immune cells.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A type of white blood cell that circulates in the blood and lymph, and provides cell-mediated immunity for the organism, protecting against infecting cells or the body's own malignant cells; also called T lymphocyte. There are several types of T cells. They develop, as do B cells, from progenitor cells in the bone marrow, but are distinguished from B-cells (B-lymphocytes) by their site of differentiation; T-cells mature in the thymus and B-cells in the bone marrow (in birds in the Bursa of Fabricius). They also have different antigen receptors from those of B-cells. T-cells differentiate into cells that can directly kill infecting cells (cell-mediated immunity, cytotoxity) or activate other cells of the immune system (helper T cells), whereas B-cells differentiate on activation into antibody-secreting plasma cells. Helper T cells interact with B-cells by secreting lymphokines that stimulate the B cell which have detected a foreign antigen to enter the cell cycle and develop, by repeated mitosis, into a clone of cells with identical receptors, and then to secrete antibodies to that specific antigen.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small lymphocyte developed in the thymus; it orchestrates the immune system's response to infected or malignant cells

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