Abstract Engineered magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are emerging to be used as cell tracers, drug delivery vehicles, and contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for enhanced theragnostic applications in biomedicine. In vitro labeling of target cell populations with MNPs and their implantation into animal models and patients shows promising outcomes in monitoring successful cell engraftment, differentiation and migration by using MRI. Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen-presenting cells that initiate adaptive immune responses. Thus, DCs have been the focus of cellular immunotherapy and are increasingly applied in clinical trials. Here, we addressed the coating of different polyelectrolytes (PE) around ferumoxytol particles using the layer-by-layer technique. The impact of PE-coated ferumoxytol particles for labeling of DCs and Flt3+ DC progenitors was then investigated. The results from our studies revealed that PE-coated ferumoxytol particles can be readily employed for labeling of DC and DC progenitors and thus are potentially suitable as contrast agents for MRI tracking.