Stem cells continue to offer great potential for therapeutic use in a variety of diseases, but it’s been hard to track their effectiveness once injected. Knowing whether the stem cells made it to a target and have remained there long enough can go a long way in helping researchers study new stem cell therapies.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have developed a photothermal microscopy technique for tracking a common stem cell marker, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), over an extended period of time.
From the abstract of the study in ACS Nano:
A detailed understanding of cellular interactions with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) is critical when their biomedical applications are considered. We demonstrate how photothermal microscopy can be used to follow the cellular uptake of SPIONs by direct imaging of the iron oxide core. This offers two important advantages when compared with current strategies employed to image magnetic cores: first, it is nondestructive and is therefore suitable for studies of live cells and, second, it offers a higher sensitivity and resolution, thus allowing for the identification of low levels of SPIONs within a precise subcellular location. We have shown that this technique may be applied to the imaging of both cell monolayers and cryosections. In the former we have demonstrated the role of temperature on the rate of endocytosis, while in the latter we have been able to identify cells labeled with SPIONs from a mixed population containing predominantly unlabeled cells. Direct imaging of the SPION core is of particular relevance for research involving clinically approved SPIONs, which do not contain fluorescent tags and therefore cannot be detected via fluorescence microscopy.
Full story: Tracking stem cells in the body…