Challenges for labeling and longitudinal tracking of adoptively transferred autoreactive T lymphocytes in an experimental type-1 diabetes model

  • Shweta Saini
  • Hannelie Korf
  • Sayuan Liang
  • Rein Verbeke
  • Bella Manshian
  • Koen Raemdonck
  • Ine Lentacker
  • Conny Gysemans
  • Stefaan C. De Smedt
  • Uwe HimmelreichEmail author
Research Article



Tracking the autoreactive T-cell migration in the pancreatic region after labeling with fluorinated nanoparticles (1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-[3-(2-pyridyldithio)propionate]-perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether nanoparticles, PDP-PFCE NPs) in a diabetic murine model using 19F MRI.

Materials and methods

Synthesis of novel PDP-PFCE fluorine tracer was performed for in vitro labeling of T cells. Labeling conditions were optimized using different PDP-PFCE NPs concentrations. For in vivo 19F MRI, mice were longitudinally followed after adoptive transfer of activated, autoreactive, labeled T cells in NOD.SCID mice.


Established MR protocols were used for challenging T cell labeling to track inflammation in a model of diabetes after successful labeling of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells with PDP-PFCE NPs. However, T cells were difficult to be detected in vivo after their engraftment in animals.


We showed successful in vitro labeling of T cells using novel fluorinated liposomal nanoparticles. However, insufficient and slow accumulation of labeled T cells and subsequent T cell proliferation in the pancreatic region remains as limitations of in vivo cell imaging by 19F MRI.


19F MRI T cells Inflammation Nanoparticles Type 1 diabetes 



The authors are grateful for financial support by the European Commission for the FP7 MC-ITN ‘BetaTrain’ (EU-FP7/207-2013/ 289932), by the European ERA-NET project ‘CryptoView’ (3rd call of the FP7 programme Infect-ERA), by the Flemish Wetenschap Onderzoek (FWO) for the projects G.0B28.14 and G.0A75.14, by the Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen for the IWT-SBO ‘NanoComit’ (140061).

Author contributions

Study conception and design: SS, HK, IL, UH. Methodology: SL, HK, RV, KR, CG. Experimentation: SS, HK, BM, RV, SL. Analysis and interpretation of data: SS, HK, BM, UH. Drafting of manuscript: SS. Critical revision: HK, CG, IL, SD, UH.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. Experiments involving mice were performed in accordance with regional, national and international standards on animal welfare, in particular the European Union Directive 2010/63/EU, and approved and overseen by the Animal Care and Ethical Committees of the University of Leuven.


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Copyright information

© European Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology (ESMRMB) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shweta Saini
    • 1
  • Hannelie Korf
    • 2
  • Sayuan Liang
    • 3
  • Rein Verbeke
    • 4
  • Bella Manshian
    • 1
  • Koen Raemdonck
    • 4
  • Ine Lentacker
    • 4
  • Conny Gysemans
    • 5
  • Stefaan C. De Smedt
    • 4
  • Uwe Himmelreich
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biomedical MRI/MoSAIC, Department of Imaging and PathologyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Hepatology, CHROMETA DepartmentKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Philips Research ChinaShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Ghent Research Group on NanomedicinesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  5. 5.Clinical and Experimental EndocrinologyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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