"Naive" T Cells?

Kenneth Frauwirth kfrauwir at midway.uchicago.edu
Wed Dec 1 22:12:40 EST 1999

In article <3845DD7F.42C74563 at home.com>,
D Forsdyke  <forsdyke1 at home.com> wrote:
>   Much confusion is created when the term "naive" T cells 
>is applied to peripheral T cells which have not yet interacted 
>with MHC-exogenous peptide complexes (e.g. see Goldrath & Bevan 
>Nature 18th Nov. 1999). 
>  These cells are NOT "naive". They have been given a highly
>sophisticated "education" in the thymus where they have 
>"learned" to discriminate based on differential affinity. 

I'm not sure how much "confusion" this really generates.  Every
immunologist knows about thymic selection (although it isn't clear that
the T cells in the thymus have "learned" anything, merely that a subset
with a specific range of affinities for thymic antigens is allowed to
survive and exit) - the term "naive" refers specifically to T cells which
haven't encountered antigen *in the periphery*, as opposed to effector and
memory cells, which have.  The fact that the term may have another
connotation in standard English doesn't mean that the jargon is confusing
to those who use it.  Are people claiming that "naive" T cells are
anything *other* than T cells that haven't encountered peripheral antigen?

Ken Frauwirth

Ken Frauwirth (MiSTie #33025)  kfrauwir at midway.uchicago.edu
Abramson Cancer Research Institute
University of Pennsylvania

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