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Microbes Infect. 2002 Apr;4(5):539-45.

Maintaining the status quo: T-cell homeostasis.

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Joslin Diabetes Center, Department of Immunology, Harvard Medical School, 1 Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Lymphocyte numbers and subset composition are maintained at relatively constant levels throughout adulthood. Fluctuations in cell numbers due to infection, loss of cells, or other influences are smoothed out by unknown mechanisms that return the system to homeostasis. Regulation of lymphocyte numbers could be controlled at several points: rate of production, alteration in life span by diminution or enhancement of survival, or by division of cells within the compartment. Cell numbers within the immune system appear to be controlled by homeostatic mechanisms that influence each of these points. This discussion will focus on the regulation of peripheral cell numbers by the antigen-independent proliferation of T cells, which has recently been demonstrated to contribute to the maintenance and recovery of lymphocyte homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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