T Lymphocytes

O T cells play a major role in the cell-mediated immuneresponse. These cells are produced in the bone marrow but their final stage of development occurs in the thymus, hence the abbreviation "T." There are three recognized subclasses of T cells.

• Cytotoxic T cells (CD8+) promote target cell destruction by activating cellular ap-optosis or aggressively killing the target cell via the release of cytotoxic proteins.

• Helper T cells (CD4+) are the great communicators of the immune response. Once activated, they proliferate and secrete cytokines that regulate effector cell function. Some helper T cells secrete cytokines that recruit cytotoxic T cells, B cells, or APCs, while others secrete cytokines that turn off the immune response once an antigen has been destroyed.

• Regulatory T cells, or suppressor T cells, suppress the activation of an immune response. The activity of these cells in organ transplant is not well elucidated.

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