Dictionary > Memory T cell

Memory T cell

noun, plural: memory T cells
A long-lived T cell that bears receptors for an antigen during its encounter with a prior infection or vaccination
In mammals, the T lymphocytes (also called T cells) form in the bone marrow and attains maturity in the thymus. There are different types of T lymphocytes and one of them is memory T cell.
A memory T cell, compared with other T lymphocytes, lives relatively longer. It can recognize pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, and cancer cells. The receptors on its cell surface enables an immune response against these foreign particles. The cell got its name memory from its ability to recognize the same foreign particle through its receptors. Recognizing the pathogen previously encountered during re-exposure, the memory T cells produce clones immediately and as such respond to the infection more strongly.
A memory T cell is different from a memory B cell. Apart from the lineage from where they were derived, the memory B cell produces large amounts of antibodies during re-exposure to the same antigen whereas the memory T cell does not. Both of them, though, are capable of proliferating to produce clones during re-exposure to a particular antigen.
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