T lymphocytes, cytotoxic
T cells that express the CD8 transmembrane glycoprotein (CD8+ T cells). They are antigen-specific: able to search out and kill specific types of infected cells. When they find cells carrying the viral peptide they are looking for, they induce these cells to secrete proteins that attract nearby macrophages (white blood cells). These macrophages then surround and destroy the infected cells. Cytotoxic T cells are particularly important in the body’s response to viruses and cancer. Abbreviated CTL. Also known as TC cells. See also T cells and T-suppressor cells.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • T lymphocytes — the cells primarily responsible for cell mediated immunity; they originate from lymphoid stem cells that migrate from the bone marrow to the thymus and differentiate under the influence of the thymic hormones thymopoietin and thymosin. They are… …   Medical dictionary

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  • cytotoxic T cells — cytotoxic T lymphocytes …   Medical dictionary

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