T cell

noun

Definition of T cell

: any of several lymphocytes (such as a helper T cell) that differentiate in the thymus, possess highly specific cell-surface antigen receptors, and include some that control the initiation or suppression of cell-mediated and humoral immunity (as by the regulation of T and B cell maturation and proliferation) and others that lyse antigen-bearing cells : t lymphocyte The immature lymphoid cell, in turn, can be processed into a B cell, which makes infection-fighting antibodies, or a T cell, which recognizes foreign tissue and virally infected cells and directs the activities of the rest of the immune system.— Gina Kolata T cells recognize antigen only in association with cell surface molecules encoded by the major histocompatibility complex— Miranda Robertson — see helper t cell, killer t cell — compare b cell

First Known Use of T cell

1970, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for T cell

thymus-derived cell

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Cite this Entry

“T cell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/T%20cell. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for T cell

T cell

noun

Medical Definition of T cell

: any of several lymphocytes (as a helper T cell) that differentiate in the thymus, possess highly specific cell-surface antigen receptors, and include some that control the initiation or suppression of cell-mediated and humoral immunity (as by the regulation of T and B cell maturation and proliferation) and others that lyse antigen-bearing cells

called also T lymphocyte

— see cytotoxic t cell, helper t cell, suppressor t cell, t4 cell

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