Biocompatible fluorescent nanoparticles for in vivo stem cell tracking

Lidia Cova, Paolo Bigini, Valentina Diana, Leopoldo Sitia, Raffaele Ferrari, Ruggiero Maria Pesce, Rushd Khalaf, Patrizia Bossolasco, Paolo Ubezio, Monica Lupi, Massimo Tortarolo, Laura Colombo, Daniela Giardino, Vincenzo Silani, Massimo Morbidelli, Mario Salmona, Davide Moscatelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efficient application of stem cells to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases requires safe cell tracking to follow stem cell fate over time in the host environment after transplantation. In this work, for the first time, fluorescent and biocompatible methyl methacrylate (MMA)-based nanoparticles (fluoNPs) were synthesized through a free-radical co-polymerization process with a fluorescent macromonomer obtained by linking Rhodamine B and hydroxyethyl methacrylate. We demonstrate that the fluoNPs produced by polymerization of MMA-Rhodamine complexes (1) were efficient for the labeling and tracking of multipotent human amniotic fluid cells (hAFCs); (2) did not alter the main biological features of hAFCs (such as viability, cell growth and metabolic activity); (3) enabled us to determine the longitudinal bio-distribution of hAFCs in different brain areas after graft in the brain ventricles of healthy mice by a direct fluorescence-based technique. The reliability of our approach was furthermore confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging analyses, carried out by incubating hAFCs with both superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and fluoNPs. Our data suggest that these finely tunable and biocompatible fluoNPs can be exploited for the longitudinal tracking of stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number245603
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Jun 21 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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