By on May 10, 2014
What are Natural Killer (NK) Cells?
Part of the first line of immune defense, NK cell provide surveillance for the immune system. Natural Killer (NK) cells are specialized immune cells of the innate, non-specific immune system. Comprising about 10% of white blood cells they are densest in the liver, spleen, blood, lung, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. In response to an immune threat, NK cells release a class of chemical messengers (cytokines, IFN-y) that recruit T lymphocytes and other immune cells to attack. They also function to communicate to other immune cells to curtail their offenses, thus inhibiting an overactive response.
Why Are They Important?
NK cells provide surveillance for the immune system. They circulate looking for viruses and cancer cells, in particular. Once in range, they release chemical grenades—perforins and granzymes—which poke holes in the enemy cells resulting in cell death, or apoptosis. It is now believed that NK cells have the potential to “remember” previous immune insults, leading to better coordinated immune cell responses with repeat exposure.
Read more: A Closer Look at Natural Killer Cells In Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Three Natural Ways to Boost Them http://www.cortjohnson.org/blog/2014/05/10/closer-look-natural-killer-cells-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-three-natural-ways-boost/