Immunologic Research

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 303–312

Regulation of adaptive immunity by natural killer cells

  • Ferdynand J. Kos

DOI: 10.1007/BF02786453

Cite this article as:
Kos, F.J. Immunol Res (1998) 17: 303. doi:10.1007/BF02786453


Natural killer (NK) cells are well recognized as cytolytic effector cells of the innate immune system. In the past several years, the structure and function of NK cell receptors for the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules and other ligands have been the subject of extensive studies. These studies have focused largely on the mechanisms of target cell recognition for lysis. Another aspect of NK cell function that seems to be underappreciated is their role in immune regulation. Since NK cells produce a number of immunologically relevant cytokines, it has been suggested that these cells may modulate the development of the adaptive immune response. But, is it the only mechanism by which NK cells interact with cells involved in the induction of antigen-specific responses? This article reviews some older and more recent studies and attempts to place NK cells in the context of potent immune regulators of T cell responses.

Key Words

Adaptive immunity Cytotoxic T lymphocytes Innate immunity Natural killer cells 

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ferdynand J. Kos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Massey Cancer CenterVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond

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