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A Magnetofluorescent Nanoparticle for Ex-Vivo Cell Labeling by Covalently Linking the Drugs Protamine and Feraheme

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We synthesized a nanoparticle (NP) for ex-vivo cell labeling and MRI tracking by covalently coupling the C-terminus of a rhodamine-labeled protamine (ProRho) to Feraheme (FH) in order to yield the nanoparticle denoted ProRho-FH. Since protamine can adsorb to certain charged surfaces, we confirmed a covalent interaction between ProRho and FH by heparin affinity chromatography. ProRho-FH lacks a net charge (zeta potential ∼0) due to the combination of negative FH and positive ProRho charges. ProRho-FH was readily internalized by U87 cells and mouse mesenchymal stem cells as determined by FACS and MR relaxometry. Finally, some 4,000 stem cells were implanted in a mouse brain and imaged by MRI. Due to its lack of net surface charge, ProRho-FH relies on the internalizing properties of the surface guanidinium groups present in the arginine-rich protamine to induce NP uptake. ProRho-FH is a unique cell-labeling agent due to its synthesis using two approved drugs, magnetofluorescence, site-specific covalent attachment chemistry, and lack of surface charge.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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