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Nanovector for Gene Transfection and MR Imaging of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

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This study centers on the use of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles coated with polyethylene glycol-grafted polyethylenimine (PEG-g-PEI-SPION) as an MRI-visible and efficient nanovector for the gene modification and in vivo MRI tracking of rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (rBMSCs). PEG-g-PEI-SPION was first condensed with plasmid DNA to form nanoparticles, demonstrating low cytotoxicity and good biocompatibility for rBMSCs. Based on a reporter gene assay, PEG-g-PEI-SPION/pDNA had the highest transfection efficiency (62.6 ± 5.5%) in rBMSCs, which was significantly higher than that obtained using the cationic liposomes in lipofectamine 2000, a commercially available and worldwide used gene transfection agent, under the most optimal conditions (13.9 ± 2.6%; P < 0.05). More excitingly, the transplantation of rBMSCs modified by our MRI-visible vector complexed with a plasmid encoding human hepatocyte growth factor into fibrotic rat livers effectively restored albumin production and significantly suppressed transaminase activities. In addition, the transplanted rBMSCs displayed a sensitive signal on T 2/T*2-weighted images in vitro and in vivo, which enabled effective MRI tracking of the cells for up to 14 days post-transplantation. Although mesenchymal stem cells are well-known to be refractory in most of the current nonviral gene delivery techniques, our results demonstrate that the MRI-sensitive PEG-g-PEI-SPION is a highly efficient and readily observable nanovector for gene delivery into rBMSCs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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