Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Activated Natural Killer Cells

  • Norimasa ItoEmail author
  • Herbert J. ZehIII
  • Michael T. Lotze
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_48-2



White blood cells that kill tumor and virus-infected cells as part of the body’s immune system (Unified Medical Language System). A type of white blood cell that contains granules with enzymes that can kill tumor cells or microbial cells (National Cancer Institute). A circulating cellular biosensor, regulating immunity through release of cytokines, maturation of dendritic cells, and recognition and lysis of stressed cells, allowing sampling of cellular contents for delivery to phagocytic cells (our definition).


Biology of NK Cells

Natural killer cellscomprise 10–15 % of circulating lymphocytes in normal adults and are also found in peripheral tissues, including the liver, peritoneal cavity, lymph nodes, and placenta. NK cells were first reported by Wunderlich, Herberman, and Sendo and others in the early 1970s. They were first discovered on the basis of...


Unify Medical Language System Lymphokine Activate Killer Large Granular Lymphocyte Lymphokine Activate Killer Activity Lower Activation Potential 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norimasa Ito
    • 1
    Email author
  • Herbert J. ZehIII
  • Michael T. Lotze
  1. 1.Departments of Surgery and BioengineeringUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA