natural killer cell

(redirected from Natural killer lymphocytes)
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natural killer cell

n.
A lymphocyte that is activated by double-stranded RNA or lymphokines and fights off viral infections and tumors without evident antigenic specificity. Also called NK cell.

natural killer cell

Etymology: L, natura + ME, kullen, to kill, cella, storeroom
large granular lymphocyte with NK-specific markers, especially CD56. NK cells affect antibody-independent cell-mediated cytotoxicity by recognizing nonself markers on foreign and tumor cells.

natural killer cell

Abbreviation: NK cell
A large granular lymphocyte – a defensive cell of innate immunity – that bonds to cells and lyses them by releasing cytotoxins. Natural killer cells are null cells, lymphocytes that do not have B cell or T cell surface markers, and they can be activated without previous antigen exposure. NK cells destroy cells infected with viruses and some types of tumor cells in cultures. They also secrete gamma interferon (INF?), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF), enhancing the effect of T lymphocytes.
Synonym: killer cell
See also: cell

Natural killer (NK) cell

A lymphocyte that acts as a primary immune defense against infection.
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