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Variability in contrast agent uptake by different but similar stem cell types

Authors Ketkar-Atre A, Struys T, Soenen SJ, Lambrichts I, Verfaillie CM, De Cuyper M, Himmelreich U

Received 16 July 2013

Accepted for publication 11 September 2013

Published 29 November 2013 Volume 2013:8(1) Pages 4577—4591

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S51588

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Ashwini Ketkar-Atre,1 Tom Struys,1,2 Stefaan J Soenen,3 Ivo Lambrichts,2 Catherine M Verfaillie,4 Marcel De Cuyper,5 Uwe Himmelreich1

1Biomedical MRI/MoSAIC, Department of Imaging and Pathology, Biomedical Sciences Group, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; 2Lab of Histology, Biomedical Research Institute, Hasselt University, Campus Diepenbeek, Agoralaan, Diepenbeek, Belgium; 3Lab for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; 4Interdepartmental Stem Cell Institute, O&N IV, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; 5Laboratory of BioNanoColloids, Interdisciplinary Research Centre, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kortrijk, Belgium

Abstract: The need to track and evaluate the fate of transplanted cells is an important issue in regenerative medicine. In order to accomplish this, pre-labelling cells with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents is a well-established method. Uptake of MRI contrast agents by non-phagocytic stem cells, and factors such as cell homeostasis or the adverse effects of contrast agents on cell biology have been extensively studied, but in the context of nanoparticle (NP)-specific parameters. Here, we have studied three different types of NPs (Endorem®, magnetoliposomes [MLs], and citrate coated C-200) to label relatively larger, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and, much smaller yet faster proliferating, multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs). Both cell types are similar, as they are isolated from bone marrow and have substantial regenerative potential, which make them interesting candidates for comparative experiments. Using NPs with different surface coatings and sizes, we found that differences in the proliferative and morphological characteristics of the cells used in the study are mainly responsible for the fate of endocytosed iron, intracellular iron concentration, and cytotoxic responses. The quantitative analysis, using high-resolution electron microscopy images, demonstrated a strong relationship between cell volume/surface, uptake, and cytotoxicity. Interestingly, uptake and toxicity trends are reversed if intracellular concentrations, and not amounts, are considered. This indicates that more attention should be paid to cellular parameters such as cell size and proliferation rate in comparative cell-labeling studies.

Keywords: cell labeling, MR contrast agents, transmission electron microscopy, mesenchymal stem cells, multipotent adult progenitor cells, magnetic resonance imaging, nanoparticles, iron oxide

A Letter to the Editor has been received and published for this article.

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