Non-invasive stem cell tracking in hindlimb ischemia animal model using bio-orthogonal copper-free click chemistry

Si Yeon Lee, Sangmin Lee, Jangwook Lee, Ji Young Yhee, Hwa In Yoon, Soon Jung Park, Heebeom Koo, Sung Hwan Moon, Hyukjin Lee, Yong Woo Cho, Sun Woong Kang, Sang Yup Lee, Kwangmeyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Labeling of stem cells aims to distinguish transplanted cells from host cells, understand in vivo fate of transplanted cells, particularly important in stem cell therapy. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) are considered as an emerging therapeutic option for tissue regeneration, but much remains to be understood regarding the in vivo evidence. In this study, a simple and efficient cell labeling method for labeling and tracking of stem cells was developed based on bio-orthogonal copper-free click chemistry, and it was applied in a mouse hindlimb ischemia model. The human ASCs were treated with tetra-acetylated N-azidoacetyl-D-mannosamine (Ac4ManNAz) to generate glycoprotein with unnatural azide groups on the cell surface, and the generated azide groups were fluorescently labeled by specific binding of dibenzylcyclooctyne-conjugated Cy5 (DBCO-Cy5). The safe and long-term labeling of the hASCs by this method was first investigated in vitro. Then the DBCO-Cy5-hASCs were transplanted into the hindlimb ischemia mice model, and we could monitor and track in vivo fate of the cells using optical imaging system. We could clearly observe the migration potent of the hASCs toward the ischemic lesion. This approach to design and tailor new method for labeling of stem cells may be useful to provide better understanding on the therapeutic effects of transplanted stem cells into the target diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-786
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - 28 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Bio-orthogonal copper-free click chemistry
  • Cell labeling and tracking
  • Hindlimb ischemia
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Metabolic glycoengineering


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