In chronic infections, the immune system can become exhausted. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have looked into how this works.
T lymphocytes, or T cells, are an important component of our immune system. They can recognize foreign proteins, so-called antigens, as peptide fragments—for instance, those derived from viruses or cancer cells. In principle, they could, but usually do not, attack our own (“self”) proteins. “That is why it is important for the organism to tightly control the activities of T cells,” says Dr. Reinhard Obst, head of a research group at the Institute for Immunology