• SERS Imaging of Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Differentiation

      Milewska, Adrianna; Sigurjonsson, Olafur E.; Leosson, Kristjan; a Innovation Center Iceland, árleynir 2-8, Reykjavík, 112, Iceland b The Blood Bank, Landspitali University Hospital, Snorrabraut 60, Reykjavík, 105, Iceland c University of Iceland, School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sæmundargötu 2, Reykjavík, 101, Iceland d Reykjavik University, School of Science and Engineering, Menntavegur 1, Reykjavík, 101, Iceland (American Chemical Society, 2021-06-21)
      Understanding the process of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) osteogenic differentiation is essential for a wide range of medical applications. However, these primary cells vary significantly from donor to donor, making it difficult to fully exploit their therapeutic potential. Although osteogenic differentiation has been studied extensively, there is still a shortage of standardized methods for the evaluation of the degree of differentiation. Here, we employ noninvasive surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for studying such cells, offering a better understanding of cellular processes in situ. We present the long-term differentiation of MSCs on biocompatible gold nanoisland SERS substrates, combining imaging of cells with spectroscopic detection of molecular species and chemical events occurring on the cellular membrane adjacent to the surface of the SERS substrate. We detect multiple signs of bone tissue formation, from an early stage to mature osteoblasts, without labeling. We show that the results correlate very well with classical differentiation-detecting assays, indicating that the SERS imaging technique alone is sufficient to study the progress of osteogenic differentiation of such cells, paving a way toward continuous label-free screening of live cells. © 2021 American Chemical Society. Author keywords extracellular matrix; hydroxyapatite; mesenchymal stromal cells; osteogenic differentiation; SERS substrates; stem cells; surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)