A T cell, or T lymphocyte, is a type of lymphocyte (a subtype of white blood cell) that plays a central role in cell-mediated immunity.
A T cell, or T lymphocyte, is a type of lymphocyte (a subtype of white blood cell) that plays a central role in cell-mediated immunity. T cells can be distinguished from other lymphocytes, such as B cells and natural killer cells, by the presence of a T-cell receptor on the cell surface. They are called T cells because they mature in the thymus from thymocytes (although some also mature in the tonsils). The several subsets of T cells each have a distinct function. The majority of human T cells, termed alpha beta T cells (αβ T cells), rearrange their alpha and beta chains on the cell receptor and are part of the adaptive immune system. Specialized gamma delta T cells, (a small minority of T cells in the human body, more frequent in ruminants), have invariant T-cell receptors with limited diversity, that can effectively present antigens to other T cells and are considered to be part of the innate immune system.