variants: or less commonly cytotoxic T lymphocyte
plural cytotoxic T cells also cytotoxic T lymphocytes
Definition of cytotoxic T cell
: a T cell that usually bears CD8 molecular markers on its surface and that functions in cell-mediated immunity by destroying a cell (such as a virus-infected cell) having a specific antigenic molecule displayed on its surface Viruses use many tricks to persist in an immunocompetent host, one of them being mutation of the sequences (epitopes) recognized by the host's viral-specific cytotoxic T cells.— Rolf M. Zinkernagel and Hans Hengartner … cytotoxic T cells which recognize foreign determinants in association with class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens.— Pauline Johnson et al.
— called also cytolytic T cell, killer T cell
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