Effects of ferumoxides - Protamine sulfate labeling on immunomodulatory characteristics of macrophage-like THP-1 cells

Branislava Janic, A. S.M. Iskander, Ali M. Rad, Hamid Soltanian-Zadeh, Ali S. Arbab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide (SPIO) complexed with cationic transfection agent is used to label various mammalian cells. Labeled cells can then be utilized as an in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) probes. However, certain number of in vivo administered labeled cells may be cleared from tissues by the host's macrophages. For successful translation to routine clinical application of SPIO labeling method it is important that this mode of in vivo clearance of iron does not elicit any diverse immunological effects. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that SPIO agent ferumoxides-protamine sulfate (FePro) incorporation into macrophages does not alter immunological properties of these cells with regard to differentiation, chemotaxis, and ability to respond to the activation stimuli and to modulate T cell response. We used THP-1 cell line as a model for studying macrophage cell type. THP-1 cells were magnetically labeled with FePro, differentiated with 100 nM of phorbol ester, 12-Myristate-13-acetate (TPA) and stimulated with 100 ng/ml of LPS. The results showed 1) FePro labeling had no effect on the changes in morphology and expression of cell surface proteins associated with TPA induced differentiation; 2) FePro labeled cells responded to LPS with slightly higher levels of NFκB pathway activation, as shown by immunobloting; TNF-α secretion and cell surface expression levels of CD54 and CD83 activation markers, under these conditions, were still comparable to the levels observed in non-labeled cells; 3) FePro labeling exhibited differential, chemokine dependent, effect on THP-1 chemotaxis with a decrease in cell directional migration to MCP-1; 4) FePro labeling did not affect the ability of THP-1 cells to down-regulate T cell expression of CD4 and CD8 and to induce T cell proliferation. Our study demonstrated that intracellular incorporation of FePro complexes does not alter overall immunological properties of THP-1 cells. The described experiments provide the model for studying the effects of in vivo clearance of iron particles via incorporation into the host's macrophages that may follow after in vivo application of any type of magnetically labeled mammalian cells. To better mimic the complex in vivo scenario, this model may be further exploited by introducing additional cellular and biological, immunologically relevant, components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2499
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 25 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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