Migration of mesenchymal stem cells tethered with carbon nanotubes under a chemotactic gradient
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been extensively studied for photothermal ablation of malignant cells due to their ability to absorb near-infrared (NIR) laser light and convert it to thermal energy for the lysis of tumor cells. Functionalizing CNTs with tumor-targeting moieties can facilitate the delivery to tumor sites. Instead of using targeting moieties, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been considered as vehicles to deliver therapeutic agents to cancer cells. In this study, the effects of attaching CNTs to MSCs on cell migration in response to a chemotactic gradient were investigated. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were functionalized with streptavidin–fluorescein isothiocyanate (SA–FITC). The surface of human MSCs was biotinylated by culturing MSCs with biotin–lipid containing medium. CNTs were then attached on the outer cell membrane of biotinylated MSCs through SA–biotin binding. Fluorescence microscopy confirmed CNTs were located on the surface of MSCs. Various amounts of CNTs anchored on the membrane of MSCs were used to examine the effects of CNTs on MSC proliferation and migration. Our transwell migration assay showed that 4.26 ng CNT per cell is the threshold value that would not affect the migration speed of CNT-tagged MSCs toward the established gradient of chemoattractant SDF-1α.