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Iron sucrose labelled human mesenchymal stem cells; in vitro multilineage capability and in vivo traceability in a lapine xenotransplantation model.

Journal article
Authors Papadimitriou Nicolaos
Susann Li
Helena Barreto Henriksson
Published in Stem Cells and Development
Volume 24
Issue 20
Pages 2403-2412
ISSN 1547-3287
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry and Transfusion Medicine
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 2403-2412
Language en
Keywords mesenchymal stem cells, xenotransplantation, intervertebral disc, chondrogenic differentiation, cell tracer, iron sucrose
Subject categories Medical cell biology, Anatomy


For evaluation of cell therapy applications it is of interest to be able to trace and observe cellular distribution of the transplanted cells. The aim with the study was to examine viability, traceability and multilineage capability of iron-sucrose- labelled-MSCs after transplantation into lapine intervertebral discs (IVDs). MSCs were collected from three human donors, age 31-50 years and IVDs from twelve rabbits, age 3 months. MSCs were isolated from bone marrow and cultured using standard protocols. Iron-sucrose-labeling of MSCs were performed in DMEM-LG with Venofer®. The iron-sucrose-labeled-MSCs were differentiated into the adipogenic-, osteogenic- and chondrogenic lineages. Results were evaluated using Oil red, Von Kossa AlcianBlue and CollagenII (immunohistochemistry). For the animal experiments: iron-sucrose-labeled-MSCs, non-labelled MSCs were injected into lapine IVDs (LI-LIV level). After transplantation, at the time points one and three months, IVDs were collected and cells were analysed for cell viability (FACS). The lapine IVDs were collected and examined for presence of cells positive for iron deposits using Berliner blue staining. Differentiation of the iron-labeled-MSCs into adipogenic-(lipid droplets), osteogenic-(calcium deposits) and chondrogenic lineage (proteoglycan/collagen II accumulation) (3/3 donors) was observed in vitro. After transplantation, the mean cell viability for iron-labeled-MSCs/IVD cells was 99%, non-labeled MSCs/IVD cells 95% and for control IVD cells 99% at time point 1 month. At time point 3 months, mean cell viability was 73% iron-sucrose-labeled-MSCs/IVD cells, non-labeled MSCs/IVD cells 77% and 98% for control IVD cells. At the time point one month, cells positive for iron deposits were detected sparesely distributed in IVDs (tissue sections) in 4/4 animals and at the time point 3 months in 3/4 animals. The results indicate that iron sucrose can be used as cell tracer with a stable detection potential in tissues (histologies). This may be an important evaluation tool for understanding stem cell distribution/ function after transplantation into degenerated cartilaginous tissues.

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