By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Cancer
T cells, key players in our immune response system, got their name from their supposedly singular origin in the Thymus. But researchers have found a second (fortuitously named) origin for T cells -- Tonsils.
The "T" in T cells comes from their supposedly singular origin, the thymus. But scientists have found evidence that T cells also come from another T-named locale.
Ohio State researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that they've found T cells developing in tonsils.
They studied tonsils removed children after tonsillectomies and saw T cells going through similar stages of development as happens in the thymus.
T cells are white blood cells that help mediate our immune response system.
Some scientists had recently suspected that the cells could come from places other than the thymus, but the Ohio State study is the first to document their development in another part of the body.
The researchers are still unsure whether T cells that develop in the tonsils also mature there, or what proportion of T cells develop in the tonsils as opposed to the thymus.
They point out that a second region for T cell development could give doctors a second area to target when treating patients with T-cell related illnesses. Also, doctors may now be able to stimulate T cell growth in the tonsils when the thymus fails.
Mar 5, 2012
It used to be a standard to remove tonsils in children because tonsils were seen as problematic with infections and of no value to the body. Along with the appendix and other body parts thought to be useless, these parts do have a function. I have read other articles about tonsils that they might be part of the immune system.