NK cell. A lymphoid cell which kills a range of tumour cell targets in the absence of prior immunization and without evident antigen specificity. Morphologically it is a lymphocyte with large granules visible under the light microscope or after staining with azure dyes. NK cells are activated by interferon, and may also be important in killing some virally infected cells in vivo. Killing results from NK cells binding to their target and inserting granules containing proteases and perforin. Killer cells appear to use a similar mechanism. The relation

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