The study was conducted in view of a possible therapeutic use in the regeneration of nerve tissue and for treating neurodegenerative diseases. Both, exposure to a magnetic field as well as the incorporation of iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles alone, had already been identified as factors that affect cell differentiation of stem cells. To improve the biocompatibility of the nanoparticles, their surface was modified with polyethylene glycol (PEG).
Cells were divided into the following groups: 1) exposure to the magnetic field, 2) exposure to the magnetic field and incorporation of nanoparticles (incubation with 10 µg/ml), 3) only incorporation of nanoparticles, 4) differentiation control group, 5) control group without treatment. Groups 1-4 were treated with a special medium to induce differentiation
Results were derived from at least 3 independent experiments carried out in triplicate.
Exposure duration: continuous for 6 days
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Cells exposed to the magnetic field (group 1), exposed to the magnetic field and nanoparticles (group 2) or nanoparticles only (group 3) showed a neural-like morphology compared to the differentiation medium group (group 4) and the control group (group 5), with the most distinct effects found in group 2.
The mRNA expression of all neural marker genes (NeuroD1, NF-L, MAP2, MBP and DCX) was significantly increased in cells exposed to the magnetic field and nanoparticles, and these cells were positive for NeuroD1 and MBP regarding protein expression while no expression was found in control group. The protein expression of CREB was also significantly higher in cells exposed to the magnetic field and nanoparticles compared to the control group.
The authors conclude exposure of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells incorporated with iron oxide nanoparticles to a 50 Hz magnetic field could support neural differentiation with involvement of CREB.