Efficient intracytoplasmic labeling of human umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stromal cells with ferumoxides

Cell Transplant. 2007;16(8):849-57. doi: 10.3727/000000007783465271.


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells found in several adult tissues; they have the capacity to differentiate into mesodermal, ectodermal, and endodermal tissues in vitro. There have been several reports that MSCs have therapeutic effects in a variety of diseases. Therefore, using a cell labeling technique, monitoring their temporal and spatial migration in vivo, would be useful in the clinical setting. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)--tracking of superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-labeled cells--is a noninvasive technique for determining the location and migration of transplanted cells. In the present study, we evaluated the influence and toxicity of SPIO (ferumoxides) labeling on multiple differentiated MSCs. To evaluate the influence and toxicity of ferumoxides labeling on differentiation of MSCs, a variety of concentrations of ferumoxides were used for labeling MSCs. We found that the cytoplasm of adherent cells was effectively labeled at low concentrations of ferumoxides. Compared with unlabeled controls, the ferumoxides-labeled MSCs exhibited a similar proliferation rate and apoptotic progression. The labeled MSCs differentiated into osteoblasts and adipocytes in an identical fashion as the unlabeled cells. However, chondrogenesis and neurogenesis were inhibited at high concentrations of ferumoxides. Our results suggest the effective concentration for ferumoxides use in tracking MSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Nuclear / metabolism
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Collagen Type II / genetics
  • Dextrans
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide / pharmacology
  • Fetal Blood / cytology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Iron / pharmacology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Oxides / pharmacology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / drug effects*
  • Time Factors


  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Collagen Type II
  • Dextrans
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Oxides
  • neuronal nuclear antigen NeuN, human
  • Iron
  • ferumoxides
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide