[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 8, 1983

NK cell activity decreases in thermal injury

JAMA. 1983;250(2):155. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340020011006

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Natural killer (NK) cells, a type of cytotoxic cell, lose their murderous proclivities in response to severe thermal injury. So reported Marshall D. Stein, PhD, at the recent Chicago meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). This finding might help to explain why burn patients are unusually susceptible to viral infection.

Stein, who is assistant professor, departments of surgery and microbiology, University of Texas Medical Branch, and chief, Division of Immunology/ Microbiology, Shriners Burn Institute, Galveston, found that NK cells (which appear to be large granular lymphocytes that lyse not only viral targets but also certain tumor cell lines) were strikingly inactive in badly burned patients. In a now-standard laboratory technique, he and colleagues Gary R. Klimpel, PhD, and David N. Herndon, MD, tested NK activity in vitro in blood samples from 14 normal control subjects and 15 burn patients against radiolabeled cells of an erythroid