Published on Jul 20, 2022 and last reviewed on Nov 23, 2022 - 4 min read
T-cells are essential immunity-providing cells in our immune system. Any defects in their number or functions can cause various diseases right from early life.
When there is any microbial ingestion or infection in the body, T-cells act as an activator for cytotoxic T-cells and B-cells to release antibodies and macrophages to kill the infection. However, they are only activated into effector cells in the presence of infection, antigen-presenting cells bind with them. At the time of immune system development, the nature of the T-cells converting into effector cells will be determined.
The immunodeficiency related to T-cell is the result of congenital disorders or disorders related secondary to severe infections, where infants lack protection against viruses or bacteria. Newborns are often seen with persistent infection because of this disorder, and as a result, their physical growth is prolonged and often creates life-threatening complications.
Disturbance in Organogenesis: The thymus plays an essential role in the development of mature T-cells from bone marrow. It is developed from the pharyngeal pouch creating an epithelial component from the endothelial layer and a mesenchymal capsule from the neural crest. Numerous cell types interact together to develop the thymus, and the first developmental phase when the thymus and many of the organs are developed is called organogenesis in embryonic development. When due for some reason, this cycle is disturbed, it causes an interruption in T-cells' maturation processes.
Deficiencies Caused by Hereditary and Congenital Defects:
Infantile Agammaglobulinemia: Being a rare disorder, one of the causes that create T-cell deficiencies is a congenital defect. When in the presence of a foreign substance called an antigen, the body reacts by producing the antibody protein called immunoglobulin from B cells. However, in conditions like X-linked infantile agammaglobulinemia, this procedure is affected, and so is the production of all types of immunoglobulin. Usually, intravenous and subcutaneous immunoglobulin administration is suggested for patients along with antibiotics.
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency: It is caused when the genetic defects disable the precursor to identifying between T-cells and B-cells. Even though at the time of birth they appear very normal, there are high chances of the development of infections, and due to that, chances of surviving are very less. It is usually inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern; each one of the parents passes one defective gene to the child. Hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cell transplant is the primary mode of treating severe combined immunodeficiency. Moreover, enzyme replacement therapy- PEGADA and gene therapy also show some promising results.
Chronic Granuloma Disease: It is a genetic disorder where white blood cells are unable to kill bacterial or fungal infections. Mutation of gene is the main factor behind phagocytes-type of white blood cells, unable to provide protection against infections. A lifelong medication and injection of interferon-gamma can manage the infection. Additionally, bone marrow transplant and gene therapy has proven to be very successful in infants with chronic granuloma diseases.
Deficiencies Caused by Infection:
Mononucleosis: The Epstein-Barr virus attacks the B-cell, which provokes them to release antigens against the infection. In this reaction, T-cells attack the B-cells until the infection is killed, which causes the deficiency of the antibodies.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV): It is more fatal than other types of viral infections. During this, HIV infects the T-cell resulting in low or non-secretion of cytokines that are essential for cell-mediated immunity procedure and compromising the whole immunity defense system.
Parasites: There are parasites like trypanosomes that cause complications in the body’s immune system.
Cancer: Cancers like Hodgkin's disease make the lymphatic system weak enough to not be able to prevent any infection.
Deficiencies Caused by Drug Therapy: Cancer-curing drugs work by reducing and preventing abnormal multiplication of the cells. While this drug works on the abnormal multiplication of cancer cells, they also affect the cell multiplication involved in immune system defense. Excessive use of such drugs can cause serious damage to the body’s immune system. However, the condition is reversible and can be managed.
Deficiencies Caused by Malnutrition: Balanced diet plays a very important role in the health of newborns. When they are born with low birth weight or suffer from severe malnutrition, it causes impairment of the cell-mediated immune system. In children with malnutrition, it is often seen that the atrophy of the thymus and deficiency of T-cells cause them to be more susceptible to infection. This condition is reversible and can be managed with a balanced diet and proper nutrition.
Deficiencies Related to Limited Environmental Exposure: T-cell deficiency is caused when a newborn comes in contact with a microorganism during birth or after birth, causing infection. As a result, they face the deficiency of T-cells, hence the compromised immunity.
One of the most common signs of having immune deficiency is persistent and long-lasting infection. However, owing to many factors, the signs and symptoms may vary. Others are:
Frequent cold and flu.
Inflammation of organs.
Problems with the digestive system.
Abnormal loss of appetite.
Other complications related to health such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
Recurring fungal or bacterial infection.
First Tier Tests
Complete blood count and differential blood count.
For infants, nucleic acid amplification.
Enumerating and basic phenotyping of T lymphocytes.
Extended phenotyping of T lymphocytes.
Delayed type hypersensitivity.
TREC (T cell receptor excision circle) assay: It detects the non-replicating DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) created during the formation of T-cells.
Lymphocyte proliferation test.
T cell disorders can be treated with following:
Tumor necrosis factor inhibitor.
Bone marrow transplantation.
T-cell deficiency comes with a plethora of complications that might create life-threatening situations in children as well as adults. As it is the center of the immunity system, T-cells might cause some serious complications in the state of deficiency or overproduction, even if the complication that is created after the disorder might be reversible. However, if the causes are not managed, there are chances of permanent damage to the health.
T-cells are essential immunity-providing cells in our immune system. Any defects in their number or functions can cause various diseases right from early life. T-Cell can cause autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes or T1D, RA, and eye diseases.
- Frequent cold and flu.
- Frequent fever.
- Inflammation of organs.
- Problems with the digestive system.
- Abnormal loss of appetite.
- Frequent diarrhea.
- Delayed growth.
- Complications related to health such as lupus.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Recurring fungal or bacterial infection.
- Delayed recovery.
When there is any microbial ingestion or infection in the body, T-cells act as an activator for cytotoxic T-cells and B-cells to release antibodies and macrophages to kill the infection. Fruits and vegetables high in folic acid and vitamin B6 are to be eaten to increase the level of T-cells in our body.
T-cells are essential immunity-providing cells in our immune system. Any defects in their number or functions can cause various diseases right from early life. Exercise is one of the best ways to increase the number of T-cells.
- Complete blood count and differential blood count.
- For infants, nucleic acid amplification.
- Enumerating primary phenotyping of T lymphocytes.
- Complete blood count and differential blood count.
- For infants, nucleic acid amplification.
- Basic phenotyping of T lymphocytes.
- TREC (T-cell receptor excision circle) assay: It detects the non-replicating
- DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) created during the formation of T-cells.
- Radiosensitivity testing.
- Lymphocyte proliferation test.
T-cells are essential immunity-providing cells in our immune system. The estimated normal T-cell levels are between 500 and 1,600 T cells per cubic millimeter of blood. Any defects in their number or functions can cause various diseases right from early life.
T-cells serve the primary function of protecting individuals from acquiring several kinds of infections; thus, if the level of T-cells is low, the individual gets easily infected and becomes sick.
Last reviewed at:
23 Nov 2022 - 4 min read
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