The role of apoptosis in the development and function of T lymphocytes

Nu Zhang, Heather Hartig, Ivan Dzhagalov, David Draper, You Wen He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Apoptosis plays an essential role in T cell biology. Thymocytes expressing nonfunctional or autoreactive TCRs are eliminated by apoptosis during development. Apoptosis also leads to the deletion of expanded effector T cells during immune responses. The dysregulation of apoptosis in the immune system results in autoimmunity, tumorogenesis and immunodeficiency. Two major pathways lead to apoptosis: the intrinsic cell death pathway controlled by Bcl-2 family members and the extrinsic cell death pathway controlled by death receptor signaling. These two pathways work together to regulate T lymphocyte development and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-769
Number of pages21
JournalCell Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Effector
  • Memory T lymphocytes
  • Thymocyte


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