Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Fluorine labelling of therapeutic human tolerogenic dendritic cells for 19F-magnetic resonance imaging

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Fiona Cooke, Dr Mary Neal, Dr Matthew Wood, Dr Amy AndersonORCiD, Julie Diboll, Dr Arthur PrattORCiD, Dr James Stanway, Ioana Nicorescu, Nicky Moyse, Dawn Hiles, David Caulfield, Professor Anne Dickinson, Professor Andrew BlamireORCiD, Professor Peter Thelwall, Professor John IsaacsORCiD, Professor Catharien Hilkens



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Tolerogenic dendritic cell (tolDC) therapies aim to restore self-tolerance in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases. Phase 1 clinical trials with tolDC have shown the feasibility and safety of this approach, but have also highlighted a lack of understanding of their distribution in vivo. Fluorine-19 magnetic resonance imaging (19F-MRI) promises an attractive cell tracking method because it allows for detection of 19F-labelled cells in a non-invasive and longitudinal manner. Here, we tested the suitability of nanoparticles containing 19F (19F-NP) for labelling of therapeutic human tolDC for detection by 19F-MRI. We found that tolDC readily endocytosed 19F-NP with acceptable effects on cell viability and yield. The MRI signal-to-noise ratios obtained are more than sufficient for detection of the administered tolDC dose (10 million cells) at the injection site in vivo, depending on the tissue depth and the rate of cell dispersal. Importantly, 19F-NP labelling did not revert tolDC into immunogenic DC, as confirmed by their low expression of typical mature DC surface markers (CD83, CD86), low secretion of pro-inflammatory IL- 12p70, and low capacity to induce IFN-g in allogeneic CD4+ T cells. In addition, the capacity of tolDC to secrete anti-inflammatory IL-10 was not diminished by 19F-NP labelling. We conclude that 19F-NP is a suitable imaging agent for tolDC. With currently available technologies, this imaging approach does not yet approach the sensitivity required to detect small numbers of migrating cells, but could have important utility for determining the accuracy of injecting tolDC into the desired target tissue and their efflux rate.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cooke F, Neal M, Wood MJ, de Vries IJM, Anderson AE, Diboll J, Pratt AG, Stanway J, Nicorescu I, Moyse N, Hiles D, Caulfield D, Dickinson AM, Blamire AM, Thelwall P, Isaacs JD, Hilkens CM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Immunology

Year: 2022

Volume: 13

Issue: 2022

Print publication date: 03/10/2022

Online publication date: 03/10/2022

Acceptance date: 08/09/2022

Date deposited: 04/10/2022

ISSN (electronic): 1664-3224

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.988667


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
21811VERSUS Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Research UK)
777357IMI Joint Undertaking
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 860003