Purified Human NK Cells

Purified Human NK Cells


  • Human NK cells purified from PBMCs of healthy blood donors sourced from a world-renowned blood center
  • Highly enriched (typically >90%) post-selection purity achieved via negative isolation using magnetic columns
  • Carefully cryopreserved to ensure high viability upon thawing
  • All orders come with an iQ Certificate of Analysis
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Human NK Cells

Human NK cells make up approximately 5-15% of PBMCs in a typical adult. These cells carry activating and inhibitory molecules that influence their activation status.

When activated, NK cells can lyse infected or transformed cells through natural cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).

Human NK Cell Application Summary

Purified human blood NK cells are a good source of cells to study the biology of NK cells and their role in the immune system. They can be used for a variety of stimulation-dependent functional experiments to assess cytokine production and cytotoxicity.

With the current trend toward development of immuno-modulatory drugs, NK cells are an ideal source of cells to test cytotoxicity and cytokine production in the presence of therapeutic molecules.

The negative isolation of NK cells leaves them untouched without any antibody binding to cell surface markers that may influence function. This method leaves all cell surface proteins eligible to be bound to antibodies or other molecules for functional or population characterization studies.

NK Cell Purification

Collection of samples

Leukapheresis was performed on verified healthy donors at a world-renowned blood center to obtain PBMCs. PBMCs were carefully washed to remove excess buffers according to iQ Biosciences’ standard operating procedures to obtain clean and healthy PBMCs.

Negative Isolation of Human NK cells

To purify NK cells, PBMCs were incubated with antibodies against T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, monocytes, granulocytes, and erythrocytes, and subsequently run through a magnetic column. Cells labeled with the antibodies were bound to the column, while unlabeled cells, the NK cells, passed through.


A small aliquot of cells was tested for post-sort purity by flow cytometry analysis. Purity of NK cells, as defined by CD56 expression, was > 96% (Figure 1).

CD56 NK Cells Before and After Purification

Figure 1. Purity of NK cells after selection by negative isolation using magnetic column separation from PBMCs.  In this representation, human PBMCs were incubated with antibodies against T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, monocytes, granulocytes, and erythrocytes and passed through a magnetic column to obtain NK cells by negative selection.  A small aliquot was taken after selection to evaluate post-sort purity (right).  Percent of NK (CD56+) cells in PBMCs is also shown (left).

Cryopreservation and storage

Purified NK cells were cryopreserved carefully using iQ Biosciences’ cryopreservation protocol that ensures high viability after thawing.

Cells should be stored at <-120°C once they are received, such as within a liquid nitrogen tank (vapor phase).

Additional information

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