Recently, we have shown that manganese magnetism-engineered iron oxide nanoparticles (MnMEIO NPs) conjugated with exendin-4 (Ex4) act as a contrast agent that directly trace implanted mouse islet β-cells by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here we further advanced this technology to track implanted porcine neonatal pancreatic cell clusters (NPCCs) containing ducts, endocrine, and exocrine cells. NPCCs from one-day-old neonatal pigs were isolated, cultured for three days, and then incubated overnight with MnMEIO-Ex4 NPs. Binding of NPCCs and MnMEIO-Ex4 NPs was confirmed with Prussian blue staining in vitro prior to the transplantation of 2000 MnMEIO-Ex4 NP-labeled NPCCs beneath the left renal capsule of six nondiabetic nude mice. The 7.0 T MRI on recipients revealed persistent hypointense areas at implantation sites for up to 54 days. The MR signal intensity of the graft on left kidney reduced 62–88% compared to the mirror areas on the contralateral kidney. Histological studies showed colocalization of insulin/iron and SOX9/iron staining in NPCC grafts, indicating that MnMEIO-Ex4 NPs were taken up by mature β-cells and pancreatic progenitors. We conclude that MnMEIO-Ex4 NPs are excellent contrast agents for detecting and long-term monitoring implanted NPCCs by MRI.
- exendin-4-conjugated manganese magnetism-engineered iron oxide nanoparticles
- magnetic resonance imaging
- porcine neonatal pancreatic cell clusters