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Definition of Helper cell

Helper cell: A type of T cell that participates in the immune response by recognizing foreign antigens and secreting substances called cytokines that activate T and B cells. 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.

Helper cells have CD4 markers on their surface and are also known as CD4 cells, T-4 cells, T-helper cells, and helper T cells.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=18569
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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