T-Lymphocyte Helper/Suppressor Profile (CD4+:CD8+)
This panel contains the following tests:
This test evaluates two important types of T-lymphocytes which are critical immune response, CD4+, aka T helper cells and CD8+, aka cytotoxic T-cells (note: does not measure natural killer cells or suppressor cells as the old terminology name seems to imply). T-helper cells (CD4+) play a critical immune role by activating our B-cell antibody production in response to extracellular pathogens, and activating our macrophages in response to intracellular pathogens. Cytotoxic cells (CD8+), on the other hand, are specialized T-cells which can recognize and directly kill cells that are damaged or infected with intracellular pathogens without CD4+ activation. Cytotoxic T-cells (CD8+ cells) are important in our daily battle against rogue cells that could potentially give rise to cancer cells and against viruses.
Both CD4+ and CD8+ are types of T-lymphocytes that are necessary for healthy immune function and our ability to fend off microbial invaders such as virus, bacteria and parasites, as well as to clear cells that have undergone damage and pose a cancer risk. Testing the number of each of these cells can provide information on immune status and response.
This test also has a special application for monitoring HIV. HIV-1 infection results in a decrease of CD4+ T cells, an increase in CD8+ T cells, and thus a decrease in the CD4+:CD8+ ratio, equating to a progressive destruction of immune function. Enumeration of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in HIV-1 seropositive patients may be used for prognostic purposes, to monitor disease progression and retroviral therapy.
Fasting is not required for this test. Take all medications as prescribed.
The name of this test is based on older immunology nomenclature used by LabCorp (i.e. suppressor T cells). It is now known that CD8+ cells are primarily representative of the cytotoxic T-cell population rather than the suppressor/regulator T-cell population. Therefore, those who run this test should be aware that it is the cytotoxic cell population that is represented by the results, rather than the suppressor T-cell population (aka T-reg population). LabCorp is investigating a name change to remove suppressor from the name of the test.
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