A dual gold nanoparticle system for mesenchymal stem cell tracking
Stem cell-based therapies have demonstrated improved outcomes in preclinical and clinical trials for treating cardiovascular ischemic diseases. However, the contribution of stem cells to vascular repair is poorly understood. To elucidate these mechanisms, many have attempted to monitor stem cells following their delivery in vivo, but these studies have been limited by the fact that many contrast agents, including nanoparticles, are commonly passed on to non-stem cells in vivo. Specifically, cells of the reticuloendothelial system, such as macrophages, frequently endocytose free contrast agents, resulting in the monitoring of macrophages instead of the stem cell therapy. Here we demonstrate a dual gold nanoparticle system which is capable of monitoring both delivered stem cells and infiltrating macrophages using photoacoustic imaging. In vitro analysis confirmed preferential labeling of the two cell types with their respective nanoparticles and the maintenance of cell function following nanoparticle labeling. In addition, delivery of the system within a rat hind limb ischemia model demonstrated the ability to monitor stem cells and distinguish and quantify macrophage infiltration. These findings were confirmed by histology and mass spectrometry analysis. This work has important implications for cell tracking and monitoring cell-based therapies.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoscale Biomaterials