The effect of PEGylated hollow gold nanoparticles on stem cell migration: potential application in tissue regeneration†
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) not only can be differentiated into different cell types but also have tropism towards injured or inflamed tissues serving as repair cells. Here we have demonstrated that MSCs containing gold nanoparticles (GNPs) whose surface has been functionalized with PEG show accelerated cell migration, successful scaffold colonization and regeneration. We report the impact of GNPs on the migration (by the wound healing assay), and proliferation (by flow cytometry analysis and by the detection of metabolic mitochondrial activity) on the behaviour of different cell lines including MSCs, HeLa cells, and human dermal fibroblasts. We conclude that GNPs are easily internalized by MSCs causing an increase in their migration rate, mediated by actin and tubulin with a 4-fold increased expression level of those proteins. We also demonstrate that MSCs containing GNPs are able to successfully colonize fibrin and PCL-based scaffolds and that an enhanced osteoblastic differentiation is reached when using the nanoparticle-laden cells compared to untreated cells used as a control. These results highlight the potential use of MSCs as therapeutic nanoparticle-carriers in regenerative medicine.