Efficient MRI labeling of endothelial progenitor cells: design of thiolated surface stabilized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles

Gul Shahnaz, Christian Kremser, Andreas Reinisch, Anja Vetter, Flavia Laffleur, Deni Rahmat, Javed Iqbal, Sarah Dünnhaupt, Willi Salvenmoser, Richard Tessadri, Ulrich Griesser, Andreas Bernkop-Schnürch
European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 2013, 85 (3 Pt A): 346-55
The aim of this study was to design thiolated surface stabilized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (TSS-SPIONs) for efficient internalization with high MRI sensitivity. TSS-SPIONs were developed by chelation between thiolated chitosan-thioglycolic acid (chitosan-TGA) hydrogel and iron ions (Fe(2+)/Fe(3+)). Likely, unmodified chitosan hydrogel SPIONs (UC-SPIONs) and uncoated SPIONs were used as control. Moreover, TSS-SPIONs were investigated regarding to their iron core size, hydrodynamic diameter, zeta potential, iron contents, molar relaxivities (r1 and r2), and cellular internalization. TSS-SPIONs demonstrated an iron oxide core diameter (crystallite size by XRD) of 3.1 ± 0.02 nm, a hydrodynamic diameter of 94 ± 20 nm, a zeta potential of +21 ± 5 mV, and an iron content of 3.6 ± 0.9 mg/mL. In addition, internalization of TSS-SPIONs into human endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) from umbilical cord blood was more than threefold and 17-fold higher in contrast to UC-SPIONs and SPIONs, respectively. With twofold lower incubation iron concentration of TSS-SPIONs, more than threefold higher internalization was achieved as compared to Resovist®. Also, cell viability of more than 90% was observed in the presence of TSS-SPIONs after 24h. The molar MR relaxivities (r2) value at 1.5 T was threefold higher than that of Resovist® and demonstrated that TSS-SPIONs have the potential as very effective T2 contrast-enhancement agent. According to these findings, TSS-SPIONs with efficient internalization, lower cytotoxicity, and high MRI sensitivity seem to be promising for cell tracking.

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