Cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells are key effector cells in immune defenses against intracellular pathogens and cancer. In human blood, effector T and NK cytotoxic cells comprise a diverse and relatively rare group of cells. Herein, we describe a simplified intracellular staining workflow for classification of circulating human T and NK cells with cytolytic potential. We suggest reagents for measuring cytolytic proteins and identification of cell subsets within conventional and unconventional T cells and NK cells.
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