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What is a Natural Killer Cell and How Does it Contribute to the Immune System?

Natural Killer (NK) cells are a critical component of the innate immune system, possessing the unique ability to target and destroy virus-infected cells and tumor cells without prior sensitization to a specific antigen. Here we will look at the characteristics, functions, and significance of NK cells in the immune system.

NK cells, a type of lymphocyte in the immune system, play a crucial role in the body’s first line of defense against infections and tumor formation. Unlike T and B cells of the adaptive immune system, NK cells do not require antigen-specific activation, allowing them to respond rapidly to a wide range of challenges (Vivier et al., 2008).

NK cells develop from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow and circulate in the blood and lymphatic system. They are characterized by the expression of surface markers such as CD16 and CD56 and lack T-cell receptors (TCRs) and B-cell receptors (BCRs), distinguishing them from other lymphocytes (Lanier, 2005).

NK cells are capable of recognizing stressed cells in the absence of antibodies and MHC, which is crucial for responding to cells infected with viruses or undergoing transformation into tumor cells. Their activation is regulated by a balance between activating and inhibitory signals received through their receptors. Inhibitory receptors recognize MHC class I molecules, ensuring that NK cells usually do not attack healthy cells. Activating receptors bind to stress-induced ligands on target cells, triggering the release of cytotoxic granules that induce apoptosis in the target cell (Bryceson et al., 2006).

NK cells contribute to immune defense in multiple ways:

Direct Cytotoxicity: NK cells directly kill cells that are stressed, infected, or transformed, primarily through the release of perforin and granzymes.
Cytokine Production: They produce cytokines like interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), which enhances the immune response by activating macrophages and influencing adaptive immunity.
Immune Regulation: NK cells can regulate the function of other immune cells, including dendritic cells, T cells, and B cells, through cell-to-cell contact and cytokine release (Caligiuri, 2008).

In viral infections, NK cells are among the first immune cells to respond. They limit virus spread by killing infected cells and producing cytokines that inhibit viral replication. In cancer, NK cells play a role in immunosurveillance, eliminating cells that exhibit abnormal behavior indicative of malignant transformation (Orange, 2002).

Understanding NK cell biology has significant clinical implications. For instance, NK cell-based therapies are being explored in the treatment of cancer. Enhancing NK cell function or administering NK cells can be an effective strategy in combating certain types of cancer. Furthermore, NK cell activity is a crucial consideration in the context of transplantations and autoimmune diseases (Rezvani and Rouce, 2015).

Natural Killer cells are an essential part of the immune system, providing a rapid and effective response against infected or transformed cells. Their ability to act without prior sensitization to specific antigens allows them to respond to a wide array of pathological challenges quickly. Ongoing research into NK cell biology holds promise for novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of cancer, infectious diseases, and immune disorders.

References

Vivier, E., Tomasello, E., Baratin, M., Walzer, T., & Ugolini, S. (2008). Functions of natural killer cells. Nature Immunology, 9(5), 503-510.
Lanier, L. L. (2005). NK cell recognition. Annual Review of Immunology, 23, 225-274.
Bryceson, Y. T., March, M. E., Ljunggren, H. G., & Long, E. O. (2006). Activation, coactivation, and costimulation of resting human natural killer cells. Immunological Reviews, 214, 73-91.
Caligiuri, M. A. (2008). Human natural killer cells. Blood, 112(3), 461-469.
Orange, J. S. (2002). Human natural killer cell deficiencies and susceptibility to infection. Microbes and Infection, 4(15), 1545-1558.
Rezvani, K., & Rouce, R. H. (2015). The Application of Natural Killer Cell Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Cancer. Frontiers in Immunology, 6, 578.

If you have any questions about the Berkeley Formula Diindolylmethane (DIM) Supplement & Immune System Booster, please feel free to contact our customer service department at 877-777-0719 (9AM-5PM M-F PST) and our representatives will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. We will be glad to share with you why the Berkeley Formula is the DIM supplement of choice by nutritional scientists, medical professionals and biomedical investigators worldwide.

Romanesco Broccoli with a Natural Fractal Pattern

Romanesco Broccoli

What is a Natural Killer Cell and How Does it Contribute to the Immune System?

Natural Killer (NK) cells are a critical component of the innate immune system, possessing the unique ability to target and destroy virus-infected cells and tumor cells without prior sensitization to a specific antigen. Here we will look at the characteristics, functions, and significance of NK cells in the immune system.

NK cells, a type of lymphocyte in the immune system, play a crucial role in the body’s first line of defense against infections and tumor formation. Unlike T and B cells of the adaptive immune system, NK cells do not require antigen-specific activation, allowing them to respond rapidly to a wide range of challenges (Vivier et al., 2008).

NK cells develop from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow and circulate in the blood and lymphatic system. They are characterized by the expression of surface markers such as CD16 and CD56 and lack T-cell receptors (TCRs) and B-cell receptors (BCRs), distinguishing them from other lymphocytes (Lanier, 2005).

NK cells are capable of recognizing stressed cells in the absence of antibodies and MHC, which is crucial for responding to cells infected with viruses or undergoing transformation into tumor cells. Their activation is regulated by a balance between activating and inhibitory signals received through their receptors. Inhibitory receptors recognize MHC class I molecules, ensuring that NK cells usually do not attack healthy cells. Activating receptors bind to stress-induced ligands on target cells, triggering the release of cytotoxic granules that induce apoptosis in the target cell (Bryceson et al., 2006).

NK cells contribute to immune defense in multiple ways:

Direct Cytotoxicity: NK cells directly kill cells that are stressed, infected, or transformed, primarily through the release of perforin and granzymes.
Cytokine Production: They produce cytokines like interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), which enhances the immune response by activating macrophages and influencing adaptive immunity.
Immune Regulation: NK cells can regulate the function of other immune cells, including dendritic cells, T cells, and B cells, through cell-to-cell contact and cytokine release (Caligiuri, 2008).

In viral infections, NK cells are among the first immune cells to respond. They limit virus spread by killing infected cells and producing cytokines that inhibit viral replication. In cancer, NK cells play a role in immunosurveillance, eliminating cells that exhibit abnormal behavior indicative of malignant transformation (Orange, 2002).

Understanding NK cell biology has significant clinical implications. For instance, NK cell-based therapies are being explored in the treatment of cancer. Enhancing NK cell function or administering NK cells can be an effective strategy in combating certain types of cancer. Furthermore, NK cell activity is a crucial consideration in the context of transplantations and autoimmune diseases (Rezvani and Rouce, 2015).

Natural Killer cells are an essential part of the immune system, providing a rapid and effective response against infected or transformed cells. Their ability to act without prior sensitization to specific antigens allows them to respond to a wide array of pathological challenges quickly. Ongoing research into NK cell biology holds promise for novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of cancer, infectious diseases, and immune disorders.

References

Vivier, E., Tomasello, E., Baratin, M., Walzer, T., & Ugolini, S. (2008). Functions of natural killer cells. Nature Immunology, 9(5), 503-510.
Lanier, L. L. (2005). NK cell recognition. Annual Review of Immunology, 23, 225-274.
Bryceson, Y. T., March, M. E., Ljunggren, H. G., & Long, E. O. (2006). Activation, coactivation, and costimulation of resting human natural killer cells. Immunological Reviews, 214, 73-91.
Caligiuri, M. A. (2008). Human natural killer cells. Blood, 112(3), 461-469.
Orange, J. S. (2002). Human natural killer cell deficiencies and susceptibility to infection. Microbes and Infection, 4(15), 1545-1558.
Rezvani, K., & Rouce, R. H. (2015). The Application of Natural Killer Cell Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Cancer. Frontiers in Immunology, 6, 578.

If you have any questions about the Berkeley Formula Diindolylmethane (DIM) Supplement & Immune System Booster, please feel free to contact our customer service department at 877-777-0719 (9AM-5PM M-F PST) and our representatives will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. We will be glad to share with you why the Berkeley Formula is the DIM supplement of choice by nutritional scientists, medical professionals and biomedical investigators worldwide.

Romanesco Broccoli with a Natural Fractal Pattern

Romanesco Broccoli
Berkeley Immune Support Formula Immune Booster Supplement
Alex Amini, M.D. Quote

Alex Amini, M.D.
Infectious Disease Specialist
Kaiser Permanente

Broccoli
Broccoli:
Diindolylmethane
Sulforaphane
Selenium
Spinach
Spinach:
Lutein
Zeaxanthin
Citrus Fruits
Citrus Fruits:
Citrus Bioflavonoids
Tomato
Tomato:
Lycopene
Broccoli
Broccoli:
Diindolylmethane
Sulforaphane
Selenium
  • Powerful Nutritional Immune Booster

    Bioavailable Nutrient Delivery System

  • Diindolylmethane (DIM):

    Immune, Breast, Prostate & Colon Heath

  • Sulforaphane:

    Cellular Detoxification

  • Selenium:

    Immune, Breast, Prostate & Vision Health

  • Lycopene:

    Cardiovascular, Breast & Prostate Health

  • Lutein:

    Immune, Vision, Prostate & Skin Health

  • Zeaxanthin:

    Vision Health

  • Vitamin D3:

    Immune Support & Bone Health

  • Citrus Bioflavonoids:

    Immune & Cardiovascular Health

  • Zinc:

    Immune, Breast, Prostate & Vision Health

Berkeley Immune Support Formula supplement facts sheet
Berkeley Immune Support Formula Capsule

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