Medical Definition of Anergy

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Anergy: A state of immune unresponsiveness. Induced when the T cell's antigen receptor is stimulated, effectively freezing T cell responses pending a "second signal" from the antigen-presenting cell. The delivery of the second signal by the antigen-presenting cell rescues the activated T cell from anergy, allowing it to produce the lymphokines necessary for the growth of additional T cells.

T cells are small white blood cells that orchestrate and directly participate in the immune defenses. Also known as T lymphocytes, they are processed in the thymus (which is why they are called T cells).

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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