Major Functions of B and T cells

  • B cells
    • Humoral immunity (against extracellular pathogens).
    • Recognize antigen—undergo somatic hypermutation to optimize antigen specificity.
    • Produce antibody—differentiate into plasma cells to secrete specific immunoglobulins.
    • Maintain immunologic memory—memory B cells persist and accelerate future response to antigen.
  • T cells
    • Cell-mediated immunity (against intracellular pathogens).
    • CD4+/helper T cells help B cells make antibodies and produce cytokines to recruit phagocytes and activate other leukocytes – T helper cells call for help!
    • CD8+/cytotoxic T cells directly kill virus-infected cells.
    • Delayed cell-mediated hypersensitivity (type IV).
    • Acute and chronic cellular organ rejection.
    • Rule of 8: MHC II × CD4 = 8; MHC I × CD8 = 8.

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