What are T cells?

T cells, named such because they primarily mature in the thymus, comprise the majority of the effector arm of the adaptive immune system. They’re most well-known as mediators of cytotoxic cell death, responsible for hunting down and eliminating both pathogens and dysfunctional cells. However, there are many different T cell subsets, each with different and wildly varying functions, including cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), T helper cells (Th), memory T cells (Tmem), and regulatory T cells (Treg).1 For an expanded view on T cells please visit our CAR-T cells section here.

1. V. Golubovskaya and L. Wu. “Different Subsets of T Cells, Memory, Effector Functions, and CAR-T Immunotherapy”, Cancers (Basel) 8(3): 36, 2016.