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Labeling, Imaging and Tracking of Human Stem Cells in Mice Using Fluorescent Nanoparticles


Haiyang Tang, Yun Lei, Yanming Miao, Yun Wang, Minxiang Li, Bingsuo Zou, Meifu Feng
Author Affiliation(s)
State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China (Haiyang Tang, Yun Wang, Minxiang Li, Meifu Feng); Nanoscale Physics and Devices Laboratory, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China (Yun Lei, Yanming Miao, Bingsuo Zou)
Corresponding Author(s)
Haiyang Tang (E-mail:
Subject Areas
Biochemistry; Biological engineering; Biophysics; Hematology; Histology; Measurement; Membrane technology; Medical imaging; Molecular & cellular biology; Physiology; Signal process

Cell labeling, imaging and tracking remain technically challenging, although they have been widely used in biomedical research. In this study, we prepared a type of nanoparticles (DSPE-PEG-encapsulated CdSe/ZnS quantum dots) conjugated with the TAT peptide of human immunodeficiency virus, and examined their toxicity and efficacy as fluorescent markers for cell labeling, imaging and tracking, in vitro and in vivo using human stem cells and NOD/SCID mice. Their labeling efficiency was evaluated and confirmed by fluorescent microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Cell viability, proliferation, phenotypic expression and differentiation capacity were compared between labeled and unlabeled cells. We found that the fluorescent nanoparticles were of little toxicity to human mesenchymal stem cells and hematopoietic stem cells through in vitro experiments. Co-transplanted human mesenchymal stem cells and hematopoietic stem cells were well tracked in brains, heart, livers, kidneys and spleens of the recipient NOD/SCID mice using the fluorescent nanoparticles. These results suggest that the fluorescent nanoparticles are of value be used for in vivo studies regarding cellular interactions and distribution after transplantation.

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