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The internalized CdSe/ZnS quantum dots impair the chondrogenesis of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells.

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  • 1Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Yang Ming University, Shih-Pai, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of differentiating into multiple cell lineages and are useful for therapeutic applications. Labeling the MSCs with fluorescent probes is beneficial in tracing the fate of MSCs after implantation. We have introduced the CdSe/ZnS quantum dots (QDs) into the human bone marrow MSCs and examined the effects of QDs on the proliferation and chondrogenesis of the cells. The internalized QDs were found localized in perinuclear regions and remained there after a number of cell passages. The presence of QDs did not affect the proliferation of cells or the size of chondrospheres formed, when subjected to chondrogenesis induction. However, the expression of mRNA and protein of type II collagen and aggrecan in the chondrospheres was significantly inhibited in cells labeled with QDs, suggesting impaired chondrogenesis. Our results that the presence of QDs interferes with the chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs raise concerns in using the QDs as fluorescence tracers for stem cells.

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