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Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as a tool to track mouse neural stem cells in vivo

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Cell transplantation offers a promising approach in many neurological disorders. Neural stem (NS) cells are potential candidates for cell therapy. The ability to track the grafted cells in the host tissue will refine this therapy. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) have been suggested as a feasible method, but there is no consensus about its safety. Here we investigated the feasibility of label NS cells with SPION and track by MRI after transplantation into mouse striatum with SPION cells and its therapeutic effects by grafting the cells into mouse striatum. We demonstrated that SPION-labeled NS cells display normal patterns of cellular processes including proliferation, migration, differentiation and neurosphere formation. Transmission electron microscopy reveals SPION in the cytoplasm of the cells, which was confirmed by microanalysis. Neurons and astrocytes generated from SPION-labeled NS cells were able to carry nanoparticles after 7 days under differentiation. SPION-labeled NS cells transplanted into striatum of mice were detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and microscopy 51 days later. In agreement with others reports, we demonstrated that NS cells are able to incorporate SPION in vitro without altering the stemness, and can survive and be tracked by MRI after they have been grafted into mice striatum.

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This work was supported by CNPq, CAPES, FAPERJ, and the Ministry of Health (DECIT). We are grateful to Jennifer Vu (Stanford University) for helpful comments on the manuscript. The authors also thank Felipe Marins and Suelen Serio for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Rosalia Mendez-Otero.

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The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

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Azevedo-Pereira, R.L., Rangel, B., Tovar-Moll, F. et al. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as a tool to track mouse neural stem cells in vivo. Mol Biol Rep 46, 191–198 (2019).

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  • Neural stem cells
  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Cellular therapy
  • Cell tracking