Tox "exhausts" immune cells

Dietmar Zehn (right) with the first author of the new study about chronicle immu
Dietmar Zehn (right) with the first author of the new study about chronicle immune responses, Francesca Alfei, and his staff member Markus Flosbach. Image: D. Zehn / TUM
Normally, the immune system goes into a state of maximum alert following a viral infection. It triggers the activation of a variety of immune cells such as T and B cells. These procreate in large numbers, and aggressively combat the infected cells. However, if the immune system does not manage to defeat the virus, then immune cells appear with highly inhibited functions. This "exhaustion" of immune cells is triggered by the ongoing immune cell activation due to the virus. Yet, this attenuation of immune responses constitutes also a positive move for the body, as a persisting strong immune response would be a significant burden and a major cause of damage to cells and tissue. The deactivation of immune responses may also permit massive growth of tumors. ...
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