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Ann Biomed Eng. 2013 Oct;41(10):2109-19. doi: 10.1007/s10439-013-0802-x. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Superparamagnetic iron oxide is suitable to label tendon stem cells and track them in vivo with MR imaging.

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  • 1MechanoBiology Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 210 Lothrop Street BST, E1640, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Abstract

Tendon stem cells (TSCs) may be used to effectively repair or regenerate injured tendons. However, the fates of TSCs once implanted in vivo remain unclear. This study was aimed to determine the feasibility of labeling TSCs with super-paramagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nano-particles to track TSCs in vivo using MRI. Rabbit TSCs were labeled by incubation with 50 μg/mL SPIO. Labeling efficiency, cell viability, and proliferation were then measured, and the stemness of TSCs was tested by quantitative real time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunocytochemistry. We found that the labeling efficiency of TSCs reached as high as 98%, and that labeling at 50 μg/mL SPIO concentrations did not alter cell viability and cell proliferation compared to non-labeled control cells. Moreover, the expression levels of stem cell markers (Nucleostemin, Nanog, and Oct-4) did not change in SPIO-labeled TSCs compared to non-labeled cells. Both labeled and non-labeled cells also exhibited similar differentiation potential. Finally, labeled TSCs could be detected by MRI both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, the findings of this study show that labeling TSCs with SPIO particles is a feasible approach to track TSCs in vivo by MRI, which offers a non-invasive method to monitor repair of injured tendons.

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