Lymphocyte. A type of white blood cell that functions as part of the immune system. Types of lymphocytes include: T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells.


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Lymphocyte: Type of white blood cell that fights infection and mediates the immune response.


Introduction: Lymphocytes

Lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, are made from blood forming precursors, or "stem," cells in the bone marrow. Some lymphocyte precursors move to the thymus gland, where they become T cells. Others remain in the bone marrow where they mature into B cells and natural killer cells. Each specialized type of cell is responsible for a particular immune response. Normally, T cells encourage other immune cells to respond to foreign substances as well as directly combat certain viral and fungal infections. B cells become antibody-producing cells. The antibodies attack foreign substances, or antigens, that mark invading viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Source: NHGRI (NIH)3

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Lymphocytes: White blood cells formed in the body's lymphoid tissue. The nucleus is round or ovoid with coarse, irregularly clumped chromatin while the cytoplasm is typically pale blue with azurophilic (if any) granules. Most lymphocytes can be classified as either T or B (with subpopulations of each), or Natural Killer Cells.4


Types may include:5

Types of Lymphocyte:

  • Activated Lymphocyte
  • Allogeneic Lymphocyte
  • Autologous Lymphocyte
  • B-Lymphocyte
  • Immature Lymphocyte
  • Large Granular Lymphocyte
  • Mature Lymphocyte
  • Prolymphocyte
  • T-Lymphocyte and Natural Killer Cell
  • Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocyte

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  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ cegir/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  2. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ vcrc/ Patients-Info/ Terms
  3. Source: NHGRI (NIH): 13014325/ learning-about-severe-combined-immunodeficiency-scid/ 
  4. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  5. Source: NCI Thesaurus

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