Issue 14, 2016

Ultra-fast stem cell labelling using cationised magnetoferritin


Magnetic cell labelling with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) facilitates many important biotechnological applications, such as cell imaging and remote manipulation. However, to achieve adequate cellular loading of SPIONs, long incubation times (24 hours and more) or laborious surface functionalisation are often employed, which can adversely affect cell function. Here, we demonstrate that chemical cationisation of magnetoferritin produces a highly membrane-active nanoparticle that can magnetise human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) using incubation times as short as one minute. Magnetisation persisted for several weeks in culture and provided significant T2* contrast enhancement during magnetic resonance imaging. Exposure to cationised magnetoferritin did not adversely affect the membrane integrity, proliferation and multi-lineage differentiation capacity of hMSCs, which provides the first detailed evidence for the biocompatibility of magnetoferritin. The combination of synthetic ease and flexibility, the rapidity of labelling and absence of cytotoxicity make this novel nanoparticle system an easily accessible and versatile platform for a range of cell-based therapies in regenerative medicine.

Graphical abstract: Ultra-fast stem cell labelling using cationised magnetoferritin

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
14 Oct 2015
20 Jan 2016
First published
20 Jan 2016
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale, 2016,8, 7474-7483

Author version available

Ultra-fast stem cell labelling using cationised magnetoferritin

S. Correia Carreira, J. P. K. Armstrong, A. M. Seddon, A. W. Perriman, R. Hartley-Davies and W. Schwarzacher, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 7474 DOI: 10.1039/C5NR07144E

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity