NK Cell Activation: Basic Testing

Our body’s primary defense mechanisms towards cancers and viral diseases involve a group of cells called Natural Killer (NK) cells. These cells travel in our blood stream in a resting state, but can be immediately recruited into tissues by chemical signals and activated through various mechanisms to:

  1. Kill cancer cells or virally infected cells,
  2. Divide and make more NK cells,
  3. Secrete substances that attract other cells into the site.

NIS Labs performs testing for NK cell activation using freshly isolated human white blood cells. The induction of the activation markers CD69 and CD25 on NK cells, after NK cells have been exposed to natural products, is examined by flow cytometry.

The assay lends itself to also examine activation of other cell types present in the sample, such as NKT cells, T lymphocytes, and monocytes.