Tracking mesenchymal stromal cells using an ultra-bright TAT-functionalized plasmonic-active nanoplatform.
High-resolution tracking of stem cells remains a challenging task. An ultra-bright contrast agent with extended intracellular retention is suitable for in vivo high-resolution tracking of stem cells following the implantation. Here, a plasmonic-active nanoplatform was developed for tracking mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in mice. The nanoplatform consisted of TAT peptide-functionalized gold nanostars (TAT-GNS) that emit ultra-bright two-photon photoluminescence capable of tracking MSCs under high-resolution optical imaging. In vitro experiment showed TAT-GNS-labeled MSCs retained a similar differentiability to that of non-labeled MSCs controls. Due to their star shape, TAT-GNS exhibited greater intracellular retention than that of commercial Q-Tracker. In vivo imaging of TAT-GNS-labeled MSCs five days following intra-arterial injections in mice kidneys showed possible MSCs implantation in juxta-glomerular (JG) regions, but non-specifically in glomeruli and afferent arterioles as well. With future design to optimize GNS labeling specificity and clearance, plasmonic-active nanoplatforms may be a useful intracellular tracking tool for stem cell research. An ultra-bright intracellular contrast agent is developed using TAT peptide-functionalized gold nanostars (TAT-GNS). It poses minimal influence on the stem cell differentiability. It exhibits stronger two-photon photoluminescence and superior labeling efficiency than commercial Q-Tracker. Following renal implantation, some TAT-GNS-labeled MSCs permeate blood vessels and migrate to the juxta-glomerular region.
Yuan, H; Gomez, JA; Chien, JS; Zhang, L; Wilson, CM; Li, S; Fales, AM; Liu, Y; Grant, GA; Mirotsou, M; Dzau, VJ; Vo-Dinh, T
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