Cell therapy is a promising strategy for the treatment of human diseases. While the first use of cells for therapeutic purposes can be traced to the 19th century, there has been a lack of general and reliable methods to study the biodistribution and associated pharmacokinetics of transplanted cells in various animal models for preclinical evaluation. Here, we present a new platform using albumin-conjugated fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs) as biocompatible and photostable labels for quantitative tracking of human placenta choriodecidual membrane-derived mesenchymal stem cells (pcMSCs) in miniature pigs by magnetic modulation. With this background-free detection technique and time-gated fluorescence imaging, we have been able to precisely determine the numbers as well as positions of the transplanted FND-labeled pcMSCs in organs and tissues of the miniature pigs after intravenous administration. The method is applicable to single-cell imaging and quantitative tracking of human stem/progenitor cells in rodents and other animal models as well.
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Su, L. J., Wu, M. S., Hui, Y. Y., Chang, B. M., Pan, L., Hsu, P. C., Chen, Y. T., Ho, H. N., Huang, Y. H., Ling, T. Y., Hsu, H. H., & Chang, H. C. (2017). Fluorescent nanodiamonds enable quantitative tracking of human mesenchymal stem cells in miniature pigs. Scientific Reports, 7, . https://doi.org/10.1038/srep45607