Lifespans of naive, memory and effector lymphocytes

Curr Opin Immunol. 1993 Jun;5(3):433-8. doi: 10.1016/0952-7915(93)90065-z.


Typical T and B lymphocytes in the secondary lymphoid organs are long-lived cells that are selected from a large pool of short-lived precursor cells in the primary lymphoid organs. The bulk of mature T and B cells are immunologically naive and remain in interphase for prolonged periods. Contact with specific antigen causes these naive cells to proliferate rapidly and differentiate into a mixture of short-lived effector cells and long-lived memory cells. Memory cells have a rapid turnover, and the survival of these cells appears to require persistent contact with antigen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Bone Marrow / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Movement
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Interphase
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / cytology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / growth & development
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / growth & development
  • Thymus Gland / immunology