Natural killer (NK) cells are derived from pluripotent (capable of giving rise to several different cell types) hematopoietic stem cell precursors which develop independently of the thymus. NK cells play a vital role in host defense against viral infections and tumor surveillance as well. NK cells are important constituent of the innate immune response against viral infections. NK cells also influence the course of chronic viral infections, such as infections with HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus (HCV). These infections at a chronic stage have a negative impact on NK cell function and leads to the appearance of phenotypically and functionally abnormal NK cells.
Like most blood tests it does not demand any special preparation. Enquire your doctor if you are on any medications or have any underlying medical conditions or allergies before undergoing CD-7. Depending on your condition your doctor will give specific instructions. Some common tips for a trouble free test are listed below.
• Avoid wearing tight full sleeve clothes because usually the phlebotomist collect the blood sample from your arm and tight sleeves may cause difficulty in getting the required vein.
• Getting yourself dehydrated before the test is an added advantage in any blood test as it nourishes the veins.
Natural Killer cells are characterized by the presence of the CD56 cell surface marker and absence of CD3. CD16 is important for NK cell function because CD16 induces cytokine expression (which regulates the production of cytokine) and cytotoxic effector activity. The test helps in measuring the circulating NK cells in the body. The percentage of CD56+ NK cells in peripheral blood in normal healthy individuals varies from 5% to 29%. Helps to identify fertility problems in women. Identifies chronic viral infections like HIV-1, HCV etc.
• The phlebotomist locates your vein most probably area between the upper and lower arm.
• A band will be used to constrict your arms for easy location of vein.
• Once suitable vein is found, the area over the skin where the vein is located is cleaned.
• With the help of a needle enough blood is drawn from your body for testing.
• Later an adhesive bandage may be applied on that area.
The collected blood is sent to laboratory for examination.