Ask A Scientist: What’s the Difference Between Naïve and Memory T Cells?

ask a scientistWe’re often asked about naïve T cells and memory T cells; specifically if we have both types in our inventory. We do carry both types of CD4+ T cells from multiple donors, and savvy researchers know when to ask for each.

Naïve T cells are essential components of the immune system that enable the body to fight off new, unrecognized infections and diseases. You can use naïve T cells to develop T regulatory cells, or skew cytokine expression patterns to TH1 or TH2 types.

Memory T cells are enriched for response to recall antigens. They have a lower activation threshold than naïve T cells, so they are more easily stimulated by antigen in vitro. Memory T cells are critical for understanding effective vaccinations, studying antigen-specific immune system responses, and testing checkpoint inhibitors.

For more information on the similarities and differences between naïve and memory T cells, view our infographic below.

Infographic Comparing Naive and Memory T Cells - Astarte Biologics

 


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Comparing Naïve and Memory T Cells

Naïve T Cells

Origin:

Bone marrow

Thymus

Phenotype:

Express CD45RA, CD62L, IL-7 receptors

Absence of CD25, CD44, CD69, memory CD45RO

Quiescent, non-dividing

Function:

Respond to antigens the immune system has never encountered

Recognize cognate antigen and initiate an immune response

Enable immune system to respond to new pathogens

Use Cases:

Developing T cells with distinct cytokine expression patterns (TH1/TH2/TH17)

Making T regulatory cells

Memory T Cells

Origin:

Lymph nodes

Peripheral circulation

Tissue

Phenotype:

Central Memory T Cells (TCM): Express CD45RO, CCR7, CD62L, CD44

Effector Memory T Cells (TEM): Express CD45RO, Absence of CCR7, CD62L

Function:

Recognize and respond to bacteria, viruses and cancer cells previously encountered

Respond to antigens the immune system has encountered through infection or vaccination

Use Cases:

Vaccine development

T lymphocyte proliferation assays

Studying antigen-specific responses and checkpoint inhibitors

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