Ultra-fast stem cell labelling using cationised magnetoferritin

Sara Correia Carreira*, James Armstrong, Adam Perriman, Ronald Hartley-Davies, Annela Seddon, Walther Schwarzacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
344 Downloads (Pure)


Magnetic cell labelling with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) facilitates many important biotechnological applications, such as cell imaging and remote manipulation. However, to achieve adequate cellular loading of SPIONs, long incubation times (24 hours and more) or laborious surface functionalisation are often employed, which can adversely affect cell function. Here, we demonstrate that chemical cationisation of magnetoferritin produces a highly membrane-active nanoparticle that can magnetise human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) using incubation times as short as one minute. Magnetisation persisted for several weeks in culture and provided significant T2* contrast enhancement during magnetic resonance imaging. Exposure to cationised magnetoferritin did not adversely affect the membrane integrity, proliferation and multi-lineage differentiation capacity of hMSCs, which provides the first detailed evidence for the biocompatibility of magnetoferritin. The combination of synthetic ease and flexibility, the rapidity of labelling and absence of cytotoxicity make this novel nanoparticle system an easily accessible and versatile platform for a range of cell-based therapies in regenerative medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7474-7483
Number of pages10
Issue number14
Early online date20 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2016

Structured keywords

  • CRICBristol


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