Time Sensitive
Ordering Recommendation

Evaluate NK and NKT cell subsets.


Semi-Quantitative Flow Cytometry




1-3 days

New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH approved.
Specimen Required
Patient Preparation

Lavender (EDTA), or Pink (K2EDTA).

Specimen Preparation

Transport 4 mL whole blood. (Min: 1 mL)

Storage/Transport Temperature


Unacceptable Conditions

Clotted or hemolyzed specimens


Specimens must be analyzed within 48 hours of collection.
New York State Clients: Specimens must be analyzed within 30 hours of collection.


Room temperature: 48 hours; Refrigerated: Unacceptable; Frozen: Unacceptable
New York State Clients: Room Temperature: 30 hours; Refrigerated: Unacceptable; Frozen: Unacceptable

Reference Interval

Effective August 17, 2020

Available Separately
Reference Interval
No Pct CD3-CD16-/+CD56br/dim(total NKcells) 5.0 - 32.5 %
No Abs CD3-CD16-/+CD56br/dim(total NKcells) 91 - 593 cells/µL
No Pct CD3-CD16+CD56dim(cytotoxic NK-cells) 47.0 - 94.5 %
No Abs CD3-CD16+CD56dim(cytotoxic NK-cells) 51 - 482 cells/µL
No Pct CD3-CD16-CD56br (cyto secreting NK) 0.7 - 6.3 %
No Abs CD3-CD16-CD56br (cyto secreting NK) 2 - 16 cells/µL
No Pct CD3+CD56+ (CD56 NKT-cells) 0.9 - 14.4 %
No Abs CD3+CD56+ (CD56 NKT-cells) 20-349 cells/µL
No Pct CD45+CD3+ (T-cells) 59.0 - 86.9 %
No Abs CD45+CD3+ (T-cells) 654 - 2634 cells/µL
No Pct CD45+CD3-(Non T-cells) 15.7 - 43.6 %
No Abs CD45+CD3-(Non T-cells) 196 - 897 cells/µL
No Natural Killer T-cell Panel Interp See Note

Interpretive Data

Natural killer (NK) cells are identified by the absence of CD3 and the expression of CD16 and/or CD56. NK cells are divided according to the expression of CD16 and CD56 into cytotoxic NK cells (CD3-CD16+CD56dim) that represents approximately 90 percent of NK cells, and cytokine-secreting or regulatory NK cells (CD3-CD16-CD56bright) that represents approximately 10 percent of NK cells. NK cells act against virally-infected cells and tumor cells and may be increased or decreased in various immunologic abnormalities. NK cells also have a role in the adaptive immune response through cytokine production. NK-like T-cells have properties of both T-cells and NK-cells, expressing both CD3 and NK-associated antigens.

The cytotoxic NK cells (CD3-CD16+CD56dim) and cytokine-secreting or regulatory NK cells (CD3-CD16-CD56bright) are reported as a percentage of the total NK cells. All other populations are reported as a percentage of the total lymphocytes.

Compliance Category

Laboratory Developed Test (LDT)

Hotline History
CPT Codes

86356 x3; 86357; 86359

Component Test Code* Component Chart Name LOINC
2013806 Pct CD3-CD16-/+CD56br/dim(total NKcells) 8112-5
2013807 Abs CD3-CD16-/+CD56br/dim(total NKcells) 9728-7
2013808 Pct CD3-CD16+CD56dim(cytotoxic NK-cells)
2013809 Abs CD3-CD16+CD56dim(cytotoxic NK-cells)
2013810 Pct CD3-CD16-CD56br (cyto secreting NK)
2013811 Abs CD3-CD16-CD56br (cyto secreting NK)
2013814 Pct CD3+CD56+ (CD56 NKT-cells) 17135-5
2013815 Abs CD3+CD56+ (CD56 NKT-cells) 26858-1
2013818 Pct CD45+CD3+ (T-cells) 56907-9
2013819 Abs CD45+CD3+ (T-cells) 89312-3
2013820 Pct CD45+CD3- (Non T-cells) 89311-5
2013821 Abs CD45+CD3- (Non T-cells) 89313-1
2013822 Natural Killer T-cell Panel Interp 80722-2
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.
Natural Killer Cell and Natural Killer T-Cell Panel