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Microbes Infect. 2002 Dec;4(15):1545-58.

Human natural killer cell deficiencies and susceptibility to infection.

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  • 1Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital and Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, MA, Boston, USA.


There are a surprisingly large number of human natural killer (NK) cell deficiency states that provide insight into the role of NK cells in defense against human infectious disease. Many disorders associated with NK cell defects are caused by single gene mutations and, thus, give additional understanding concerning the function of specific molecules in NK cell development and activities. A resounding theme of NK cell deficiencies is susceptibility to herpesviruses, suggesting that unexplained severe herpesviral infection should raise the possibility of an NK cell deficit.

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