Mechanism and regulation of natural cytotoxicity. Minireview on cancer research

I. Kimber, M. Moore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Natural killer (NK) cells comprise a heterogeneous population of effector cells functionally and phenotypically distinct from B cells and mature antigen-sensitive T cells, with the capacity to spontaneously lyse target cells of widely different tissue provenance in a genetically unrestricted fashion. As such they have been widely implicated in immunosurveillance against neoplastic and virus-infected cells, as well as in the homeostasis of haematopoietic differentiation and regulation of immune function. In common with cytotoxic T cells, the lytic mechanism may be resolved into several discrete stages. Target cell recognition appears to involve several chemical entities, while susceptibility is also influenced by a multiplicity of factors operative at post-recognition stages of the lytic process. NK activity is subject to both positive and negative regulation. The potentiating effects of interferons and interleukin-2, products of activated T cells, indicate a possible pathway by which adaptive immune responses may augment natural cytotoxicity under local physiological conditions. Negative regulation is mediated by certain prostaglandins and a variety of cell types including macrophages, granulocytes and thymocytes as well as subsets of peripheral blood lymphocytes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-84
    Number of pages15
    JournalExperimental Cell Biology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1985


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