NK cell isolation, expansion and analysis

With this workflow, you can rely on fast and easy isolation of pure NK cells or NK cell subsets and superior NK cell expansion. Furthermore, it uses optimized flow cytometry reagents for phenotyping and functional analyses.

Whether you require highly purified populations isolated by positive selection or untouched cells from whole blood, MACS Technology has a solution for you. The NK Cell Isolation Kit, human enables you to isolate highly pure, untouched NK cells from human PBMCs.

Example of a separation using the REAlease® CD56 MicroBead Kit 
PBMCs before separation
Isolated NK cells

Isolation of untouched human NK cells from PBMCs by using the NK Cell Isolation Kit, an LS Column, and a MidiMACS™ Separator. CD56+ cells were isolated from human PBMCs using the REAlease® CD56 MicroBead Kit, MS Columns, and a MiniMACS™ Separator. Cells were fluorescently stained with CD56-PE and analyzed by flow cytometry using the MACSQuant® Analyzer X. Cell debris and dead cells were excluded from the analysis based on scatter signals and propidium iodide fluorescence. 

Obtain any NK cell subset with REAlease® CD56 MicroBead Kit

If you are looking for a solution to isolate multiple NK cell subsets, REAlease® CD56 MicroBead Kit is the perfect solution for you.

  • Isolation of specific CD56+ cell subsets. The CD56+ cells can be used to isolate specific NK or T cell subsets such as, CD8+ CD56+, CD3+ CD56+, CD3- CD56+, and CD56+ CD69+ cell subsets.
  • Isolation of label-free CD56+ cell subset.

Scientific poster
REAlease Immunomagnetic Separation Technology with reversible labeling for postive selection of leukocytes

Philipp Steinbrueck, Zhong Yu, Ursula Bissa, Jennifer Brieden, and Christian Dose

Having trouble expanding NK cells?

Ex vivo cultivation is an attractive option to increase NK cells in numbers; either to study their biology or to improve their anti-tumor potential. But we know how difficult it is, that’s why we have developed the new NK MACS Medium. A designed formulation that offers the perfect solution to expand and activate human NK cells from various sources, including peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) or isolated NK cells. Its defined formulation enables expansion of NK cells that are fully functional, ready for any downstream application.

NK cell expansion starting with PBMCs

Superior expansion of NK cells 

Reliable activation and expansion of NK cells is a clear requirement for effective downstream experiments. NK MACS® Medium is optimized for NK cell expansion and is the perfect solution to culture NK cells in vitro. 


NK cell expansion starting with PBMCs

NK cells can be expanded using PBMCs as starting material  or previous to cultivation NK cells can be isolated from whole blood, buffy coats or PBMCs. Using NK MACS® Medium results in 3 times more NK cell fold expansion compared to competitor medium or TexMACS (T cell medium). 


Translating your research into the clinic?

Easily translate your research NK cell culture protocol into a clinical-grade protocol using the new NK MACS GMP Medium (Phenol Red), together with our MACS GMP Cytokines.

As the final step in many workflows, flow analysis plays an important part in many downstream assays during NK cell analysis. The following flow reagents can ensure that the data you generate on your flow cytometer is reliable and consistent:

  • REAfinity Recombinant Antibodies – recombinantly generated antibodies that ensure lot-to-lot consistency and eliminate background signal
  • MACSplex Cytokine Kits – analysis of multiple soluble cytokines in one sample using any standard flow cytometer
  • Cytokine Secretion Assay – Detection Kits – flow analysis of cytokine secretion at a detection level of one NK cell in a million

Build your own NK cell flow panel with our Flow Panel Builder. 

Scientific poster
Standardized and flexible eight-color flow cytometry panels harmonized between different laboratories to study human NK cell phenotype and function

Kalpana Singh, John P. Veluchamy², María Delso-Vallejo, Nina Kok, Fenna Bohme, Ruth Seggewiss-Bernhardt⁴, Hans J. van der Vliet, Tanja D. de Gruijl, Volker Huppert, and Jan Spanholtz

Get acquainted with our protocols and antibody panels for your workflows in NK cell research.


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