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Open Access Assessment of Human Islet Labeling With Clinical Grade Iron Nanoparticles Prior to Transplantation for Graft Monitoring by MRI

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Ex vivo labeling of islets with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles allows posttransplant MRI imaging of the graft. In the present study, we compare two clinical grade SPIOs (ferucarbotran and ferumoxide) in terms of toxicity, islet cellular uptake, and MRI imaging. Human islets (80‐90% purity) were incubated for 24 h with various concentrations of SPIOs (14‐280 μg/ml of iron). Static incubations were performed, comparing insulin response to basal (2.8 mM) or high glucose stimulation (16.7 mM), with or without cAMP stimulation. Insulin and Perl's (assessment of iron content) staining were performed. Electronic microscopy analysis was performed. Labeled islets were used for in vitro or in vivo imaging in MRI 1.5T. Liver section after organ removal was performed in the same plane as MRI imaging to get a correlation between histology and radiology. Postlabeling islet viability (80 ± 10%) and function (in vitro static incubation and in vivo engraftment of human islets in nude mice) were similar in both groups. Iron uptake assessed by electron microscopy showed iron inclusions within the islets with ferucarbotran, but not with ferumoxide. MRI imaging (1.5T) of phantoms and of human islets transplanted in rats, demonstrated a strong signal with ferucarbotran, but only a weak signal with ferumoxide. Signal persisted for >8 weeks in the absence of rejection. An excellent correlation was observed between radiologic images and histology. The hepatic clearance of intraportally injected ferucarbotran was faster than that of ferumoxide, generating less background. A rapid signal decrease was observed in rejecting xenogeneic islets. According to the present data, ferucarbotran is the most appropriate of available clinical grade SPIOs for human islet imaging.

Keywords: Imaging; Iron nanoparticles; Islet imaging; Islet transplantation; Magnetic resonance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cell Isolation and Transplantation Center, Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva, School of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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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.

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