"Cellular suicide," also known as programmed
cell death. HIV may induce apoptosis in both infected and uninfected immune
system cells. Normally when CD4+ T cells (see) mature in the thymus gland
(see), a small proportion of these cells are unable to distinguish self
from nonself. Because these cells would otherwise attack the body's own
tissues, they receive a biochemical signal from other cells that results
in apoptosis. See Tumor Necrosis Factor.
programmed cell death. Apoptosis is the body's mechanism
for eliminating undesirable or excessive immune system activity, e.g.,
immune cells that attack the body's own tissues. Abnormal apoptosis is
often seen in HIV disease.
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