Cytotoxic lymphocyte

Cytotoxic lymphocyte
Author: Anirudh Raghuvir; Girish Venkataraman
Category: Morphologic variants of normal cells > Morphologic variants of white blood cells
Published Date: 12/17/2020

This peripheral smear stained with Wright-Giemsa shows a cytotoxic lymphocyte, also known as a large granular lymphocyte. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes have more cytoplasm and purple granules within the cytoplasm. When cytotoxic T-cells interact with the target cells such as viral or cancerous cells, these granules are secreted. They will deliver lethal proteins called perforin and other cytotoxic molecules to the target cells in order to kill them. Cytotoxic T-cells can be of T-cell or NK-cell derivation.