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Acta Biomater. 2014 Feb;10(2):623-9. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.10.021. Epub 2013 Oct 28.

Biological magnetic cellular spheroids as building blocks for tissue engineering.

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Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University, 301 Rhodes Research Center, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Clemson University, 161 Sirrine Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, BSB 601, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.
Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University, 301 Rhodes Research Center, Clemson, SC 29634, USA; Institute of Biological Interfaces of Engineering, 401-2 Rhodes Engineering Research Center, Clemson, SC 29634, USA. Electronic address:


Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), primarily iron oxide nanoparticles, have been incorporated into cellular spheroids to allow for magnetic manipulation into desired shapes, patterns and 3-D tissue constructs using magnetic forces. However, the direct and long-term interaction of iron oxide nanoparticles with cells and biological systems can induce adverse effects on cell viability, phenotype and function, and remain a critical concern. Here we report the preparation of biological magnetic cellular spheroids containing magnetoferritin, a biological MNP, capable of serving as a biological alternative to iron oxide magnetic cellular spheroids as tissue engineered building blocks. Magnetoferritin NPs were incorporated into 3-D cellular spheroids with no adverse effects on cell viability up to 1 week. Additionally, cellular spheroids containing magnetoferritin NPs were magnetically patterned and fused into a tissue ring to demonstrate its potential for tissue engineering applications. These results present a biological approach that can serve as an alternative to the commonly used iron oxide magnetic cellular spheroids, which often require complex surface modifications of iron oxide NPs to reduce the adverse effects on cells.


Ferritin; Magnetic nanoparticles; Magnetoferritin; Tissue engineering

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