Difference Between B Lymphocytes vs. T Lymphocytes

Primary Difference

Lymphocytes are white blood cells in the blood which fight the infections and antibodies an d strengthen the immune system. Lymphocytes are divided in two parts, B Lymphocytes and T Lymphocytes, also known as B cells and T cells. B Lymphocytes originate in the bone marrow and the lymph nodes while T Lymphocytes originate from the thymus. The function of both these lymphocytes is to protect the body against infection and are necessary components of our immune system. Without the B and T lymphocytes our body will lose its ability to fight and stop different infections and viruses that enter our body. These lymphocytes are also known as B cells and T cells. In simpler words the function of these two lymphocytes is after the T and B lymphocytes are developed they go to their respective site and when they encounter an infection from outside they come into action, the helper T cells send signals to the B cells which produce the plasma cells, these plasma cells acts instantly and produces the specialized antibody for that particular infection and coats or covers the cell which is infected in the specific organ. After that the B cells send signals again to the T cells which produce killer cells and kill or destroy the infection. Both these cannot work without each other. They work together to make the immune system strong.

Comparison Chart

B LymphocytesT Lymphocytes
OriginOriginate in the bone marrowOriginate in the thymus
WorkingCan connect to the antibodies directly on the surface of the attacking virus or infectionCan only connect to the virus antibodies on the outside of the infected cells.
Life SpanLongerShorter
AntibodiesPresent at the surfaceNone

Definition of B Lymphocytes

B Lymphocytes arise from the bone marrow, gut associated lymphoid tissue. They form the humoral immunity of the body. The viruses and infections which enter the blood or lymph of the body, humoral immunity works against it. B lymphocytes initially produce proteins called antibodies that can capture the infections as they travel in the blood. When they come across infections, B lymphocytes are stimulated into action and produce plasma cells and memory B cells. Each plasma cell is specialized to make a particular antibody, a specialized protein to attack a specific infection. The function of antibodies is to act as a cover on the infected cell so T lymphocytes recognize which cells to destroy. When infections become covered with antibody, they are more easily targeted by other proteins in the immune system, as well as by the specialized cells known as phagocytes that are responsible for eating foreign substances and infected cells. While plasma cells disappear after an immune response is finished, memory B lymphocytes stay around for a long time. If the same infection appears again, antibodies are already available to help fight it off.

Definition of T Lymphocytes

T lymphocytes are an important component of our immune system. They are developed in the thymus and after that they either travel around in the blood or lymphatic system or go to different organs in the body. As soon as a specific infection triggers them, helper T cells produce chemicals, of which, some chemicals stimulate B lymphocytes to develop into plasma cells, while others stimulate killer T lymphocytes to target and kill cells that may have either become infected by the infection or become cancerous. Regulatory T lymphocytes help to control the immune system to prevent it getting out of hand. Natural killer T lymphocytes also produce chemicals to help regulate the immune response and protect against infections and cancerous tumors. Memory T lymphocytes stay around for a long time after the immune system has finished responding. In this way, they can react quickly if the same infection appears again and multiply to produce a large number of T lymphocytes to kill it.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. B lymphocytes originate in the bone marrow while the T lymphocytes originate in the thymus.
  2. B lymphocytes lie outside the lymph node while the T lymphocytes lie inside the lymph nodes.
  3. B lymphocytes can connect to the antibodies directly on the surface of the attacking virus or infection while the T lymphocytes can only connect to the virus antibodies on the outside of the infected cells.
  4. B lymphocytes have a short life span while the lifespan of T lymphocytes is longer.
  5. B lymphocytes have surface antibodies present in them and they secrete antibodies while T lymphocytes do not have surface antibodies in them and they secrete lymphokines.
  6. B lymphocytes form 20 % of the lymphocytes and they form plasma and memory cells while T cells are 80%of the lymphocytes and they form helper, suppressor and killer cells.
  7. B lymphocytes do not move to the site of infection while the T lymphocytes move to the site of infection.
  8. B lymphocytes protect against the infections and bacteria that enter the blood and lymph while the T lymphocytes fight against pathogens that enter the cells.

Comparison Video


This article has explained the main terms and issues related to these two terms and therefore, give a detailed analysis of the differences between them. It also helps in making sure people are able to learn more about the topics and end up getting to know how they differ from each other even though they may seem similar.