Improved biocompatibility and efficient labeling of neural stem cells with poly(L-lysine)-coated maghemite nanoparticles

Pongrac, Igor M. and Dobrivojević, Marina and Brkić Ahmed, Lada and Babič, Michal and Šlouf, Miroslav and Horák, Daniel and Gajović, Srećko (2016) Improved biocompatibility and efficient labeling of neural stem cells with poly(L-lysine)-coated maghemite nanoparticles. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 7. pp. 926-936. ISSN 2190-4286

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BACKGROUND: Cell tracking is a powerful tool to understand cellular migration, dynamics, homing and function of stem cell transplants. Nanoparticles represent possible stem cell tracers, but they differ in cellular uptake and side effects. Their properties can be modified by coating with different biocompatible polymers. To test if a coating polymer, poly(L-lysine), can improve the biocompatibility of nanoparticles applied to neural stem cells, poly(L-lysine)-coated maghemite nanoparticles were prepared and characterized. We evaluated their cellular uptake, the mechanism of internalization, cytotoxicity, viability and proliferation of neural stem cells, and compared them to the commercially available dextran-coated nanomag(®)-D-spio nanoparticles. ----- RESULTS: Light microscopy of Prussian blue staining revealed a concentration-dependent intracellular uptake of iron oxide in neural stem cells. The methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay and the calcein acetoxymethyl ester/propidium iodide assay demonstrated that poly(L-lysine)-coated maghemite nanoparticles scored better than nanomag(®)-D-spio in cell labeling efficiency, viability and proliferation of neural stem cells. Cytochalasine D blocked the cellular uptake of nanoparticles indicating an actin-dependent process, such as macropinocytosis, to be the internalization mechanism for both nanoparticle types. Finally, immunocytochemistry analysis of neural stem cells after treatment with poly(L-lysine)-coated maghemite and nanomag(®)-D-spio nanoparticles showed that they preserve their identity as neural stem cells and their potential to differentiate into all three major neural cell types (neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes). ----- CONCLUSION: Improved biocompatibility and efficient cell labeling makes poly(L-lysine)-coated maghemite nanoparticles appropriate candidates for future neural stem cell in vivo tracking studies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The license is subject to the Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology terms and conditions: ( The definitive version of this article is the electronic one which can be found at: doi:10.3762/bjnano.7.84
Departments: Hrvatski institut za istraživanje mozga
Katedra za histologiju i embriologiju
Depositing User: Martina Žužak
Status: Published
Dobrivojević, MarinaUNSPECIFIED
Brkić Ahmed, LadaUNSPECIFIED
Šlouf, MiroslavUNSPECIFIED
Gajović, SrećkoUNSPECIFIED
Date: 27 June 2016
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 07:32
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2020 07:12
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