Prof. Kielstein and PhD student in front of work bench using CytoSMART System

Trutz Fischer and Prof. Heike Kielstein, Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg Medical Faculty, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology





Speed-Analysis of Undirected Migration of NK-92 Cells under the Influence of the Adipokine Leptin

Research Interest

Our workgroup at Prof Kielstein’s lab investigates the link between obesity, the adipokine leptin and the influence of leptin on natural killer (NK) cells. Obese individuals have a higher likelihood to get various types of cancer (e.g. postmenopausal breast cancer, hepatic- and colon cancer)1 and do have a higher recurrence- and death probability compared to lean patients2. One of the possible reasons has been demonstrated by our workgroup – we could show that the cytotoxicity of NK cells is impaired under the influence of elevated leptin concentrations in obese individuals3. It has also been shown that leptin affects the remodeling of the structural protein actin4. As actin is one of the main proteins involved in active cell migration, we hypothesized that higher concentrations of leptin might affect the migration speed of NK cells as well.  

The Experiment

We used the CytoSMART™ System as an affordable and easy-to-use system to create time lapse recordings of the undirected migration of NK cells under the influence of physiological and pathophysiological (equal to normal weight and obese individuals) concentrations of leptin. The recorded videos have been analyzed by the TrackingTool™ PRO cell tracking software (Gradientech, Sweden) regarding the average migration speed of the cells.

Video of undirected migration of NK-92 cells recorded with the CytoSMART™ Lux 10X Device (Snapshot interval: 1 minute) Analysis of CytoSMART™ Video by the Tracking Tool™ PRO cell tracking software (Gradientech)


The CytoSMART™ System completely fulfills our needs and is an adequate option for all cell-tracking tasks where a high resolution or fluorescence is not required. The big advantage in comparison to “traditional” live cell imaging systems certainly is the small size and the possibility to use the device in your already existing incubator, with no need for further investments.


  1. Bhaskaran K, Douglas I, Forbes H, dos-Santos-Silva I, Leon DA, Smeeth L (2014) Lancet 384:755–765.
  2. Parekh N, Chandran U, Bandera EV (2012)  Annu. Rev. Nutr. 32:311–342.
  3. Jahn J, Spielau M, Brandsch C, Stangl GI, Delank K, Bahr I, Berreis T, Wrann CD, Kielstein H (2015)  Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 23:2233–2241.
  4. Harvey J, Hardy SC, Irving AJ, Ashford MLJ (2000) ‎J. Physiol  527:95–107. 


Find out more about Prof. Kielstein’s research.