There is more to a healthy immune system than just getting enough rest and drinking orange juice. The body is constantly on guard to make sure that the body is safe from pathogens that can cause illness and infection. All the components of the immune system have specialized tasks that are awesomely balanced to keep the body healthy. The T cells are one of the types of blood cells that protect the body. The others types of cells are B cells, memory cells, and natural killers. These blood cells are called lymphocytes or white blood cells. Three types of T cells carry out the function of protecting the body to maintain health.
Night and Day
There are many bodily functions that are occurring constantly throughout the day and night and many of them perform their duties without being noticed. The filtering of lymph through the lymphatic system is one of them. The nodes filter out pathogens, debris, viruses, and bacteria. This happens constantly without ceasing. The T cells are born in the bone marrow and the liver maturing in the thymus and then hangout in the lymph nodes. These blood cells penetrate the cell membrane to do their job of stimulating the immune system and destroying harmful cells like cancerous cells. There are three different types of T cells.
One, Two, Three Types of T cells
The T cells are specialized blood cells that are found in the lymph nodes. They seek out and destroy the pathogens that are left behind after the lymph fluid moves on. When these cells start being produced to attack something foreign in the body, it may cause the lymph node to swell. These are the three types of T cells:
- Cytotoxin – aggressive lymphocytes that destroys cells by binding or bursting the foreign cells
- Helper – supportive lymphocytes that motivate the B cell’s production of antibodies and creates substances that kick T cells into action
- Regulatory – these cells are the referees that keep the cells in line and when necessary they hold back the production of antigens
All three types work together harmoniously to keep the body healthy and strong. Once the body fights off an attack, it will recognize the enemy sooner and the T cells will jump into action faster and fight stronger for a longer period of time. Sometimes all the T cells won’t show up for their shift, resulting in an immune system that does not function effectively.
T Cells That Don’t Work Well with Others
When T cells can’t do their job the body cannot fight off illness and infection, which can lead to serious problems. The failure to do their job can occur due to health issues, during treatments for illness, or medications which affect the T cell count. These are some of the various reasons that the counts may be low:
- Viral infection
- Age (older)
- Radiation treatment
- Immune deficiency
The test for T cells is also known as T-lymphocyte and this test may also result in a high T cell count instead of a low one.
Read About – Inguinal (Groin) Lymph Nodes
Too Many T Cells Showing Up to Do the Job
When the T cells start gathering to kick some butt it is because there is a health issue that needs attention. Once it is discovered that there is a high count there will be further tests to determine the cause. The following are possible causes and will need to be treated once diagnosed:
- Cancer of plasma cells (myeloma)
- Toxoplasmosis (parasite infection)
When the body is working extra hard or when the job gets too big it may be necessary to have some medical care to treat and get over the illness, infection, or disease.
Not all counts are created equal so before you get excited over your T cell count do some research. Some people tend to have higher or lower counts than others and different labs have a different definition of high or low. Consult with your medical care provider and ask questions. There is more information at the Mayo Clinic Site.