K cell -->
killer cell
medical dictionary

1. <immunology> Mammalian cells which can lyse antibody coated target cells. They have a receptor for the Fc portion of IgG and are probably of the mononuclear phagocyte lineage, though some may be lymphocytes. Not to be confused with cytotoxic T-cells which recognise targets by other means and are clearly a sub set of T lymphocytes. This confusion exists in the early literature.

2. Natural killer cell are CD3 negative large granular lymphocytes, mediating cytolytic reactions that do not require expression of Class I or II major histocompatibility antigens on the target cell.

3. Lymphokine activated killer cells are NK cells activated by interleukin-2 (LAK cells).

Abbreviation: K cell

(13 Nov 1997)

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