Nanoparticle labeling of bone marrow-derived rat mesenchymal stem cells: their use in differentiation and tracking
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising candidates for cellular therapies due to their ability to migrate to damaged tissue without inducing immune reaction. Many techniques have been developed to trace MSCs and their differentiation efficacy; however, all of these methods have limitations. Conjugated polymer based water-dispersible nanoparticles (CPN) represent a new class of probes because they offer high brightness, improved photostability, high fluorescent quantum yield, and noncytotoxicity comparing to conventional dyes and quantum dots. We aimed to use this tool for tracing MSCs’ fate in vitro and in vivo. MSC marker expression, survival, and differentiation capacity were assessed upon CPN treatment. Our results showed that after CPN labeling, MSC markers did not change and significant number of cells were found to be viable as revealed by MTT. Fluorescent signals were retained for 3 weeks after they were differentiated into osteocytes, adipocytes, and chondrocytes in vitro. We also showed that the labeled MSCs migrated to the site of injury and retained their labels in an in vivo liver regeneration model. The utilization of nanoparticle could be a promising tool for the tracking of MSCs in vivo and in vitro and therefore can be a useful tool to understand differentiation and homing mechanisms of MSCs.