Paramagnetic particles carried by cell-penetrating peptide tracking of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, a research in vitro

Min Liu, You min Guo, Qi fei Wu, Jun le Yang, Peng Wang, Si cen Wang, Xiao juan Guo, Yong Qian Qiang, Xiao Yi Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The ability to track the distribution and differentiation of stem cells by high-resolution imaging techniques would have significant clinical and research implications. In this study, a model cell-penetrating peptide was used to carry gadolinium particles for magnetic resonance imaging of the mesenchymal stem cells. The mesenchymal stem cells were isolated from rat bone marrow by Percoll and identified by osteogenic differentiation in vitro. The cell-penetrating peptides labeled with fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate and gadolinium were synthesized by a solid-phase peptide synthesis method and the relaxivity of cell-penetrating peptide-gadolinium paramagnetic conjugate on 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance was 5.7311 ± 0.0122 mmol-1 s-1, higher than that of diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid gadolinium (p < 0.05). Fluorescein imaging confirmed that this new peptide could internalize into the cytoplasm and nucleus. Gadolinium was efficiently internalized into mesenchymal stem cells by the peptide in a time- or concentration-dependent fashion, resulting in intercellular T1 relaxation enhancement, which was obviously detected by 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging. Cytotoxicity assay and flow cytometric analysis showed the intercellular contrast medium incorporation did not affect cell viability and membrane potential gradient. The research in vitro suggests that the newly constructed peptides could be a vector for tracking mesenchymal stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell-penetrating peptide
  • Fluorescein
  • Gadolinium
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mesenchymal stem cells


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