Impact of magnetic nanoparticle surface coating on their long-term intracellular biodegradation in stem cells
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) internalized within stem cells have paved the way for remote magnetic cell manipulation and imaging in regenerative medicine. A full understanding of their interactions with stem cells and of their fate in the intracellular environment is then required, in particular with respect to their surface coatings. Here, we investigated biological interactions of MNP composed of an identical magnetic core but coated with different molecules: phosphonoacetic acid, polyethylene glycol phosphonic carboxylic acid, caffeic acid, citric acid, and polyacrylic acid. These coatings vary in the nature of the chelating function, the number of binding sites, and the presence or absence of a polymer. The nanoparticles magnetism was systematically used as an indicator of their internalization within human stem cells and of their structural long-term biodegradation in a 3D stem cell spheroid model. Overall, we evidence that the coating impacts the aggregation status of the nanoparticles and subsequently their uptake within stem cells, but has little effect on their intracellular degradation. Only a high number of chelating functions (polyacrylic acid) had a significant protective effect. Interestingly, when the nanoparticles aggregated prior to cellular internalization, a lower degradation was also demonstrated. Finally, for all coatings, a robust dose-dependent intracellular degradation rate was demonstrated, with higher doses of internalized nanoparticles leading to lower degradation extent.