Get access

Protamine Functionalized Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for Stem Cell Labeling and In Vivo Raman/Magnetic Resonance/Photoacoustic Triple-Modal Imaging

Authors

  • Chao Wang,

    1. Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based, Functional Materials & Devices, Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials, Laboratory (FUNSOM), Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Xinxing Ma,

    1. Department of Radiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, 215006, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Shuoqi Ye,

    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Liang Cheng,

    1. Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based, Functional Materials & Devices, Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials, Laboratory (FUNSOM), Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kai Yang,

    1. Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based, Functional Materials & Devices, Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials, Laboratory (FUNSOM), Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Liang Guo,

    1. Department of Radiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, 215006, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Changhui Li,

    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Yonggang Li,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Radiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, 215006, China
    • Department of Radiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, 215006, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Zhuang Liu

    Corresponding author
    1. Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based, Functional Materials & Devices, Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials, Laboratory (FUNSOM), Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China
    • Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based, Functional Materials & Devices, Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials, Laboratory (FUNSOM), Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Stem cells have shown great potential in regenerative medicine and attracted tremendous interests in recent years. Sensitive and reliable methods for stem cell labeling and in vivo tracking are thus urgently needed. Here, a novel approach to label human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) for in vivo tracking by triple-modal imaging is presented. It is shown that polyethylene glycol (PEG) functionalized SWNTs conjugated with protamine (SWNT-PEG-PRO) exhibit extremely efficient cell entry into hMSCs, without affecting their proliferation and differentiation. The strong inherent resonance Raman scattering of SWNTs is used for in vitro and in vivo Raman imaging of SWNT-PEG-PRO-labeled hMSCs, enabling ultrasensitive in vivo detection of as few as 500 stem cells administrated into mice. On the other hand, the metallic catalyst nanoparticles attached on nanotubes can be utilized as the T2-contrast agent in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of SWNT-labeled hMSCs. Moreover, in vivo photoacoustic imaging of hMSCs in mice is also demonstrated. The work reveals that SWNTs with appropriate surface functionalization have the potential to serve as multifunctional nanoprobes for stem cell labeling and multi-modal in vivo tracking.

Ancillary