Human Lymphocyte : 2011

Photograph by

David Scharf

About this image

Scanning electron micrograph of a human Natural Killer (NK) lymphocyte. Lymphocytes are cells that mediate the immune system. NK cells such as this can distinguish the surface proteins on normal cells that have been infected by a virus or that have grown in a tumour. When it detects such a cell, the NK lymphocyte engulfs and destroys it. The NK cell seen here is about 18 micrometres wide and was grown in culture, fixed and dehydrated before being coated with platinum. The colours in this image come from multiple secondary detectors in the microscope through a system invented by Mr Scharf. David Scharf Photography, Los Angeles, California, USA