Target cell is a term given to one of three different concepts in medicine.
- In hematology, target cells are abnormal red blood cells, that have a bullseye appearance. (See main article: codocyte)
- In endocrinology, target cells can refer to the cells where hormones have their effect. Target cells are capable of responding to hormones because they bear receptors to which the hormone can bind. Hormones will float along the bloodstream until they find an appropriate target cell.
- In immunology, target cells are the direct recipient of a T cell's effector functions, and are therefore targeted for cytotoxic destruction.