Lymphocytes are a kind of white blood cell that assists the body in fighting infections and diseases in a very efficient way.
Lymphocytes are able to recognize and destroy the vast majority of invaders that threaten our health.
There are two major types of Lymphocytes:
B-Lymphocytes develop into unique cells, called Plasma Cells, that create precise proteins, called antibodies. These antibodies travel in the blood and react to infections, toxins, some bacteria, and also specific types of cancer cells. These antibodies act like biological guided missiles that seek out cells with a particular antigen on their surface. The body then recognizes and eliminates these unwanted invaders.
However, some of these problematic cells such as viruses can dodge B-Lymphocytes by growing within the body’s individual cells. T-Lymphocytes can sense when these cells have become infected and annihilate them immediately. T-Lymphocytes can also assist the body to beat viral infections and wipe out unusual or cancerous cells.
After an invader has been destroyed, the surviving B-Lymphocytes and T-Lymphocytes develop into specialized memory cells that remain on watch in the lymph nodes, waiting to be reactivated if and when a particular antigen is encountered again. These memory cells can be thought of as “guards” that are always on the lookout to prevent specific invaders from attempting to re-attack the body.
It is the action of these cells that allow us to become immune to diseases. For example, once a person has had Chicken Pox, they can never develop the disease again.