T-helper cell

HIV/AIDS Myths and Facts

Medical Definition of T-helper cell

T-helper cell: A type of T cell that provides help to other cells in the immune response by recognizing foreign antigens and secreting substances called cytokines that activate T and B cells. T-helper cells fall into two main classes: those that activate other T cells to achieve cellular inflammatory responses; and those that drive B cells to produce antibodies in the humoral immune response. These two classes of response are generally incompatible with one another and require coordination by substances called cytokines to promote one response while dampening the other.

The HIV virus attacks T-helper cells, knocking out the body's ability to defend itself against infections.

T-helper cells have CD4 markers on their surface. They are a special subpopulation of CD4 cells. They are also called helper cells and helper T cells.


Quick GuideHIV AIDS Facts: Symptoms and Treatments

HIV AIDS Facts: Symptoms and Treatments

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Reviewed on 1/25/2017

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors