Stem-cell-based therapies have attracted considerable interest in regenerative medicine and oncological research. However, a major limitation of systemic delivery of stem cells is the low homing efficiency to the target site. Here, we report a serendipitous finding that various iron-based magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) actively augment chemokine receptor CXCR4 expression of bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). On the basis of this observation, we designed an iron-based nanocluster that can effectively label MSCs, improve cell homing efficiency, and track the fate of the cells in vivo. Using this nanocluster, the labeled MSCs were accurately monitored by magnetic resonance imaging and improved the homing to both traumatic brain injury and glioblastoma models as compared to unlabeled MSCs. Our findings provide a simple and safe method for imaging and targeted delivery of stem cells and extend the potential applications of iron-based MNPs in regenerative medicine and oncology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)