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Transplantation. 2008 Jan 15;85(1):155-9. doi: 10.1097/

Labeling of pancreatic islets with iron oxide nanoparticles for in vivo detection with magnetic resonance.

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  • 1Laboratory of Pancreatic Islets, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Videnska 1958/9, 140 21 Prague, Czech Republic.


In vitro labeling of pancreatic islets with iron nanoparticles enables their direct posttransplant visualization by magnetic resonance; however, there is still a discrepancy in the fate of iron nanoparticles. This study was performed to detail the labeling process, consequently to improve the labeling efficacy and to confirm safety for islet cells. The islets were visible on T2*-weighted magnetic resonance images as hypointense spots immediately after 1-hr cultivation. Although at this time already the sufficient superparamagnetic effect was achieved, most of the particles were deposed in islet macrophages and only later were they found in endosomes of endocrine islet cells. The iron content depended on length of culture period. The labeled islets showed an intact ultrastructure, responded normally to glucose stimulation in vitro, and were able to treat experimental diabetes. For purpose of subsequent magnetic resonance imaging, a 24-hr culture with ferucarbotran leads to sufficient labeling with no apparent adverse effect on beta cell morphology or function.

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