Herberman, Ronald B. Biological Development Branch, National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research Facility, Frederick, Maryland.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Antibody-mediated cytotoxicity
- Cytotoxic T lymphocytes
- Macrophage-medicated cytotoxicity
- Natural killer cells
- Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The mechanism by which the immune system destroys or damages foreign or abnormal cells. Immunologic cytotoxicity may lead to complete loss of viability of the target cells (cytolysis) or an inhibition of the ability of the cells to continue growing (cytostasis). Immunologic cytotoxicity can be manifested against a wide variety of target cells, including malignant cells, normal cells from individuals unrelated to the responding host, and normal cells of the host that are infected with viruses or other microorganisms. In addition, the immune system can cause direct cytotoxic effects on some microorganisms, including bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
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