Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Section of Experimental Oncology and Nanomedicine (SEON), Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung-Professorship, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]
For magnetic control of cells for biomedical applications such as targeting of immune cells to tumors, cells must be magnetizable. For that, cells are incubated with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) to take them up and thus become magnetizable. When using adherent cells, non-ingested SPIONs can be easily removed by rinsing of the particles regardless of their colloidal stability in cell culture medium. However, if suspension cells such as T cells are to be loaded with SPIONs, established methods to separate excess nanoparticles from cells are based on physicochemical parameters such as density, size or magnetizability. Thus, colloidal stability of the particles is of great importance, since only colloidally stable SPIONs can be completely separated from the cells due to their physicochemical differences. Aggregates of colloidally meta- or unstable particles cannot, however, be separated from cells due to their overlapping sizes and densities. Thus, development of an alternative method for the separation of nanoparticle aggregates from suspension cells is urgently needed. Here, we present an affinity chromatographic separation method based on immunohistochemical properties of the respective cells. A desthiobiotinylated antibody against a cellular surface antigen (here CD90.2 receptor on EL4 T cells) is immobilized on a streptavidin agarose column optimized for cell purification. Subsequently the column is loaded with the particle/cell suspension so that the cells bind to the column. After removing the particles by washing, the cells can be gently eluted with biotin solution under physiological conditions. This allows >95% of the excess iron concentration to be removed while maintaining cell viability.