Differential phenotypic properties of human peripheral blood CD56dim+ and CD56bright+ natural killer cell subpopulations

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1996 Aug;110(4):308-13. doi: 10.1159/000237321.


We investigated the presence of integrins and various other cell surface markers on the surface of freshly isolated CD56dim+ and CD56bright+ NK cells, the latter comprising a mean of 6.5% of total peripheral blood (PB) CD3-CD56+ NK cells. This small subpopulation stained more intensively for CD2, CD11c, CD15s, CD44, CD49e, CD55, CD62L, HLA-DR, and GZS-1, whereas there was no expression of CD49f in contrast to CD56dim+ cells. The myeloid antigen CDw65 was present on 11% of CD56bright+ cells, other myeloid markers were not found. 28% of CD56bright+ cells were positive for CD45R0. These results support the notion that CD56bright+ NK cells, based on their different marker profile, may possess different functional and biodistributional properties and--due to the signal-transducing capabilities of several adhesion molecules--differential patterns of stimulatability compared to the majority of PB-NK cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • CD56 Antigen / analysis*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Killer Cells, Natural / classification*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Male


  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers
  • CD56 Antigen
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules