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Open Access Efficient and Rapid Labeling of Transplanted Cell Populations With Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Using Cell Surface Chemical Biotinylation for In Vivo Monitoring by MRI

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Determination of the dynamics of specific cell populations in vivo is essential for the development of cell-based therapies. For cell tracking by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cells need to internalize, or be surface labeled with a MRI contrast agent, such as superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs): SPIOs give rise to signal loss by gradient-echo and T2-weighted MRI techniques. In this study, cancer cells were chemically tagged with biotin and then magnetically labeled with anti-biotin SPIOs. No significant detrimental effects on cell viability or death were observed following cell biotinylation. SPIO-labeled cells exhibited signal loss compared to non-SPIO-labeled cells by MRI in vitro. Consistent with the in vitro MRI data, signal attenuation was observed in vivo from SPIO-labeled cells injected into the muscle of the hind legs, or implanted subcutaneously into the flanks of mice, correlating with iron detection by histochemical and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) methods. To further validate this approach, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were also employed. Chemical biotinylation and SPIO labeling of hMSCs were confirmed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. The procedure did not affect proliferation and multipotentiality, or lead to increased cell death. The SPIO-labeled hMSCs were shown to exhibit MRI signal reduction in vitro and was detectable in an in vivo model. In this study, we demonstrate a rapid, robust, and generic methodology that may be a useful and practical adjuvant to existing methods of cell labeling for in vivo monitoring by MRI. Further, we have shown the first application of XRF to provide iron maps to validate MRI data in SPIO-labeled cell tracking studies.

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Keywords: Cell labeling; Chemical biotinylation; Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Preclinical Imaging Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK; Biological Imaging Centre, Imaging Sciences Department, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Imperial College London, London, UK. [email protected]

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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