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Biotechniques. 2007 Nov;43(5):627-8, 630, 632 passim.

Measurement of quantity of iron in magnetically labeled cells: comparison among different UV/VIS spectrometric methods.

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  • 1Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI 48188, USA.


Cell labeling with superparamagnetic iron oxides (SPIO) is becoming a routine procedure in cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Quantifying the intracellular iron in labeled cells is a prerequisite for determining the number of accumulated cells by quantitative MRI studies. To establish the most sensitive and reproducible method for measuring iron concentration in magnetically labeled cells, we investigated and compared four different methods using an ultraviolet-visible (UV/VIS) spectrophotometer. Background spectra were obtained for 5 and 10 M hydrochloric acids, a mixture of 100 mM citric acid plus ascorbic acid and bathophenanthroline sulphonate (BPS), and a mixture of 5 M hydrochloric acid plus 5% ferrocyanide. Spectra of the same solutions containing either 10 or 5 microg/mL iron oxides were also created to determine the peak absorbance wavelengths for the dissolved iron. In addition, different known iron concentrations were used to obtain calibration lines for each method. Based on the calibration factors, iron was measured in samples with a known amount of iron and in labeled cells. Methods based on the use of 10 M hydrochloric acid underestimated iron concentration in all experiments; for this method to give an accurate measurement, iron concentration in sample needs to be at least 3 microg/mL.

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