Nonviral cell labeling and differentiation agent for induced pluripotent stem cells based on mesoporous silica nanoparticles

Wei Chen, Ping Hsing Tsai, Yann Hung, Shih Hwa Chiou, Chung Yuan Mou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is an innovative personalized-regenerative technology, which can transform own-self somatic cells into embryonic stem (ES)-like cells, which have the potential to differentiate into all cell types of three dermal lineages. However, how to quickly, efficiently, and safely produce specific-lineage differentiation from pluripotent-state cells and iPSCs is still an open question. The objective of the present study was to develop a platform of a nonviral gene delivery system of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) to rapidly generate iPSC-derived definitive-lineage cells, including endodermal-differentiated cells. We also evaluated the feasibility and efficiency of FITC-conjugated MSNs (FMSNs) for labeling of iPSCs and utilized the multifunctional properties of FMSNs for a suitable carrier for biomolecule delivery. We showed that FMSNs of various surface charges could be efficiently internalized by iPSCs without causing cytotoxicity. The levels of reactive oxygen species and pluripotent status, including in vitro stemness signatures and in vivo teratoma formation, remained unaltered. Notably, positive-charged FMSN enhanced cellular uptake efficiency and retention time. Moreover, when using positive-charged FMSN to deliver hepatocyte nuclear factor 3β (HNF3β) plasmid DNA (pDNA), the treated iPSCs exhibited significantly improved definitive endoderm formation and further quickly differentiated into hepatocyte-like cells with mature functions (low-density lipoprotein uptake and glycogen storage) within 2 weeks in vitro. Double delivery of pHNF3β further improved mRNA expression levels of liver-specific genes. These findings reveal the multiple advantages of FMSNs to serve as ideal vectors not only for stem cell labeling but also for safe gene delivery to promote the production of hepatocyte-like cells from iPSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8423-8440
Number of pages18
JournalACS Nano
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 22 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • cell labeling
  • DNA delivery
  • hepatocyte-like cell
  • induced pluripotent stem cell
  • mesoporous silica nanoparticle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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