Acta Biomater (2014)
We synthesize highly crystalline citrate-coated iron oxide superparamagnetic nanoparticles that are stable and readily dispersible in water by an extremely fast microwave-assisted route and investigate the uptake of magnetic nanoparticles by endothelial cells. Nanoparticles form large aggregates when added to complete endothelial cell medium. The size of the aggregates was controlled by adjusting the ionic strength of the medium. The internalization of nanoparticles into endothelial cells was then investigated by transmission electron microscopy, magnetometry and chemical analysis, together with cell viability assays. Interestingly, a sevenfold more efficient uptake was found for systems with larger nanoparticle aggregates, which also showed significantly higher magnetic resonance imaging effectiveness without compromising cell viability and functionality. We are thus presenting an example of a straightforward microwave synthesis of citrate-coated iron oxide nanoparticles for safe endothelial progenitor cell labeling and good magnetic resonance cell imaging with potential application for magnetic cell guidance and in vivo cell tracking.