Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Sep 4;24(17):13665. doi: 10.3390/ijms241713665.
The behavior and migration of human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) are focal points of research in the biomedical field. One of the major aspects is potential therapy using hMCS, but at present, the safety of their use is still controversial owing to limited data on changes that occur with hMSCs in the long term. Fluorescent photoconvertible proteins are intensively used today as “gold standard” to mark the individual cells and study single-cell interactions, migration processes, and the formation of pure lines. A crucial disadvantage of this method is the need for genetic modification of the primary culture, which casts doubt on the possibility of exploring the resulting clones in personalized medicine. Here we present a new approach for labeling and tracking hMSCs without genetic modification based on the application of cell-internalizable photoconvertible polyelectrolyte microcapsules (size: 2.6 ± 0.5 μm). These capsules were loaded with rhodamine B, and after thermal treatment, exhibited fluorescent photoconversion properties. Photoconvertible capsules demonstrated low cytotoxicity, did not affect the immunophenotype of the hMSCs, and maintained a high level of fluorescent signal for at least seven days. The developed approach was tested for cell tracking for four days and made it possible to trace the destiny of daughter cells without the need for additional labeling.