A research team at the Medical College of Georgia has determined that regulatory T cells learn to distinguish between normal body tissue and outside invaders early in life. If researchers can learn how to control T cell education in childhood, it could form the basis for preventing autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes or lupus. The team also concluded that regulatory T cells are produced in the thymus, a small organ located in the chest area. The regulatory T cells learn in the thymus to distinguish between tissue and invaders like bacteria and viruses. In mice, that learning process occurs in the first six weeks of life, roughly equivalent to the first 15 years of a human life. The team also believes that new regulatory T cells could be introduced into the body.
- read the report on T cells from Healthday