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T cell

noun, Immunology.
any of several closely related lymphocytes, developed in the thymus, that circulate in the blood and lymph and orchestrate the immune system's response to infected or malignant cells, either by lymphokine secretions or by direct contact: helper T cells recognize foreign antigen on the surfaces of other cells, then they stimulate B cells to produce antibody and signal killer T cells to destroy the antigen-displaying cells; subsequently suppressor T cells return the immune system to normal by inactivating the B cells and killer T cells.
Also called T lymphocyte.
Origin of T cell
1965-70; T(hymus-derived) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for t-cell


another name for T-lymphocyte
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for t-cell

t cell

1970; so called because they are derived from the thymus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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t-cell in Medicine

T cell n.
A principal type of white blood cell that completes maturation in the thymus and that has various roles in the immune system, including the identification of specific foreign antigens in the body and the activation and deactivation of other immune cells. Also called T lymphocyte.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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t-cell in Science
T cell  
Any of the lymphocytes that develop in the thymus gland and that act in the immune system by binding antigens to receptors on the surface of their cells in what is called the cell-mediated immune response. T cells are also involved in the regulation of the function of B cells. Also called T lymphocyte. See more at cell-mediated immune response, Compare B cell.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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t-cell in Culture

T-cell definition

Key to the immune system, these cells originate in the bone marrow but mature in the thymus (the t stands for thymus). T-cells attack other body cells that are infected by some bacteria, a virus, or another pathogen. (Compare B-cell.)

Note: The HIV/AIDS virus destroys a type of T-cell, leading to the syndrome characterized by a defective immune system.
Note: T-cell counts are used as a diagnostic test to indicate the strength of the immune system in AIDS patients.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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