CD Markers

Topic Completed: 1 December 2013

Minor changes: 2 October 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: CD16a[title]

Related topics: CD16b

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. CD16/CD16a. website. Accessed January 15th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Gene is similar to that for CD16b
  • Binds various IgG molecules, including rheumatoid factor
  • Mediates antibody dependent cytotoxicity of foreign cells, phagocytosis and other antibody-dependent responses, but if target cell has class I MHC, the NK cell's killer cell inhibitory receptor (KIR) inhibits cytolysis
  • Mediates platelet satellitism (Am J Clin Pathol 1995;103:740)
  • Affinity to ligand is regulated by glycosylation (Immunology 2003;110:335)
Uses by pathologists
  • NK cell and macrophage marker
  • Used to subtype leukemia / lymphomas
  • Note: preincubation with CD16 / CD32 antibodies is commonly used to prevent nonspecific binding
Positive staining - normal
  • NK cells, granulocytes, monocytes / macrophages, T cells (reactive), immature thymocytes and placental trophoblast
Positive staining - disease
  • NK proliferative disorders, hepatosplenic alpha-beta and gamma-delta T cell lymphomas (variable), T cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia (variable)
  • CD16 expression, normally absent from eosinophils, is upregulated with allergic conditions (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002;109:46) or when stimulated in vitro with platelet activating factor or IFNgamma (Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2004;134:165)
Negative staining
  • Basophils; NK / T cell lymphoma nasal type
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