Differences Between B-Cells and T-Cells

Although mature lymphocytes all look pretty much alike, they are extraordinarily diverse in their functions. The most abundant lymphocytes are:

B lymphocytes (often simply called B cells) and
T lymphocytes (likewise called T cells).

Some of the differences between B Cells and T Cells are as follows:

1NameB lymphocytesT lymphocytes
2OriginBone MarrowThymus
3PositionOutside Lymph NodeInterior of Lymph Node


BCR (= immunoglobulin) for antigenTCR for antigen
5ConnectionsB-cells can connect to antigens right on the surface of the invading virus or bacteria.T-cells can only connect to virus antigens on the outside of infected cells.
6Tissue DistributionGerminal centres of lymph nodes, spleen, gut, respiratory tract; also subcapsular and medullary cords of lymph nodes

Parafollicular areas of cortex in

nodes, periarteriolar in spleen

7Life SpanLife span is shortLife span is long
8Surface AntibodiesSurface Antibodies presentAbsence of surface antibodies
9SecretionThey secrete antibodiesThey secrete Lymphokines
10FunctionВ-cells form humoral or antibody-mediated immune system (AMI).T-cells form cell-mediated immune system (CMI).
11Blood20% of lymphocytes80% of lymphocytes; CD4 > CD8
12FormationThey form plasma cells and memory cells.They form killer, helper and suppressor cells.
13Movement to Infection SitePlasma cells do not move to the site of infection.Lymphoblasts move to the site of infection.
14FunctionPlasma cells do not react against transplants and cancer cells.Killer cells react against transplants and cancer cells.
15FunctionPlasma cells have no inhibitory effect on immune system.Suppressor cells inhibit immune system.
16FunctionThey defend against viruses and bacteria that enter the blood and lymph.They defend against pathogens including protists and fungi that enter the cells.

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9 thoughts on “Differences Between B-Cells and T-Cells”

  1. All tha t-cells have CD3 receptor on their surface .
    T helper(CD4)cells
    T suppressor(CD8)cells :
    T-cells block immune response by their action on t-helper cells on b-cells
    Cytotoxic t(tc) cells

    Regulatory t-cells Effector t-cells
    1. CD4 1.cytotoxic t-cell
    2.CD8. 2.DTH

    • question: how do the t-cells and b-cells react differently from infection of a virus directly versus infection via vaccine?

  2. Good work.But i got a small rectification on ORIGIN,both B and T lymphocytes originate from bonemarrow[red] but they mature in different organs:bonemarrow and thymus respectively.


  3. Thank you. I work in the field of bleeding disorders. As an Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Treatment Center social worker, I constantly look for educational materials for my patients and their families.

  4. In the healthy male and female subjects, the mean concentration of Energy of cells, meaured in adenozine-triphosphat, ATP in 1 x 106 lymphocytes /ml of normal peripheral blood T lymphocytes, was 1.39 µM ATP and in B lymphocytes the concentration was 0.35 µM ATP/ml [SD = 0.41, p= 0.030].
    From patients with malignant diseases, the concentration of ATP in 1 x 106 activated peripheral blood T lymphocytes/ml had a mean value of 3.06 µM ATP and the mean concentration of ATP in activated B lymphocytes/ml was 0.17 µM ATP [SD= 0.45, p = 0.05].
    The mean concentration of ATP in 1 x 106 activated peripheral blood malignant CLL B lymphocytes/ml was 4.33 µM ATP but was only 0.09 µM ATP [SD= 1.5, p < 0.05] in T lymphocytes from these patients.
    A strong correlation was observed between the concentration of ATP of T lymphocytes from patients withmalignant diseases and ATP concentration of B lymphocytes from samples of patients with CLL (r= 0.99) and a good correlation was observed between T lymphocytes (Th) from allergic diseases and T lymphocytes (Ts) from malignant diseases (r = 0.94).
    The difference of energy between anaerobic ATP in B lymphocytes from CLL and aerobic ATP in T lymphocytes from healthy subjects havebeen calculated in value of 2.68 µM ATP, suggests the process of carcinogenesis, in malignant diseases.
    Dr. Aurel


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