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Definition of T-helper cell

T-helper cell: A type of T cell that provides help to other cells in the immune response by recognizing foreign antigens and secreting substances called cytokines that activate T and B cells. T-helper cells fall into two main classes: those that activate other T cells to achieve cellular inflammatory responses; and those that drive B cells to produce antibodies in the humoral immune response. These two classes of response are generally incompatible with one another and require coordination by substances called cytokines to promote one response while dampening the other.

The HIV virus attacks T-helper cells, knocking out the body's ability to defend itself against infections.

T-helper cells have CD4 markers on their surface. They are a special subpopulation of CD4 cells. They are also called helper cells and helper T cells.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11306
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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