In vivo tracking cells using gadolinium-based contrast agents have the important advantage of providing a positive contrast on T1-weighted images, which is less likely to be confused with artifacts because of postoperative local signal voids such as metal, hemorrhage, or air. The aim of this study is to paramagnetically and fluorescently label marrow with dual agents (gadolinium-diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid [Gd-DTPA] and PEI-FluoR) and track them after transplantation into spinal cord injury (SCI) with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from Sprague-Dawley rats were incubated with PEI-FluoR (rhodamine-conjugated PEI-FluoR) and Gd-DTPA complex for labeling. After labeling, cellular viability, proliferation, and apoptosis were evaluated. T1 value and longevity of intracellular Gd-DTPA retention were measured on a 1.5 T MRI scanner. Thirty-six SCI rats were implanted with labeled and unlabeled MSCs and phosphate-buffered saline. Then, serial MRI and Basso-Beattie-Bresnehan (BBB) locomotor tests were performed and correlated with fluorescent microscopy. The relative signal intensity (RSL) of the engraftment in relation to normal cord was measured and the linear mixed model followed by post-hoc Bonferroni test was used to identify significant differences in RSL as well as BBB score.
MSCs could be paramagnetically and fluorescently labeled by the dual agents. The labeling did not influence the cellular viability, proliferation, and apoptosis. The longevity of Gd-DTPA retention in labeled MSCs was up to 21 days. The distribution and migration of labeled MSCs in SCI lesions could be tracked until 7 days after implantation on MRI. The relative signal intensities of SCI rats treated with labeled cells at 1 day and 3 days (1.34 +/- 0.02, 1.27 +/- 0.03) were significantly higher than rats treated with unlabeled cells (0.94 +/- 0.01, 0.99 +/- 0.02) and phosphate-buffered saline (0.91 +/- 0.01, 0.95 +/- 0.01) (P < .05). Rats treated with labeled MSCs or unlabeled MSCs achieved significantly higher BBB scores than controls at 14, 21, 28, and 35 days after injury (P < .05).
Labeling MSCs with the dual agents may enable cellular MRI and tracking in experimental spinal cord injury.
"Contrast agents play a critical role in cellular and molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as they enable sensitive and clear visualization of cellular and physiological processes . The different contrast agents available for labeling cells share in common their ability to enhance signal contrast and have facilitated cell-tracking studies in stem cell transplantation , neurodegenerative disorders and stroke, atherosclerosis , and cancer research    . Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are by far the most common, owing to their strong negative T 2 -weighted contrast, and have been widely used for tracking different cell types in various organs, including lymphocytes, progenitor cells, and embryonic cells     . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rationale and Objectives. Concurrent visualization of differential targets in cellular and molecular imaging is valuable for resolving processes spatially and temporally, as in monitoring different cell subtypes. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate concurrent, dual (positive and negative) contrast visualization on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of two colocalized cell populations labeled with Gadolinium “Gd” oxide and iron “Fe” oxide nanoparticles. Materials and Methods. Human aortic endothelial cells (EC) and smooth muscle cells (SMC) were labeled with various concentrations of Gd oxide and Fe oxide, respectively. MRI on single- or mixed-cell samples was performed at 7 tesla. Proper cell phenotype expressions, cell uptake of contrast agents, and the effect of labeling on cell viability and proliferation were also determined.
Results. Both contrast agents were efficiently taken up by cells, with viability and proliferation largely unaffected. On MRI, the positive contrast associated with Gd oxide-labeled EC and negative contrast associated with Fe oxide-labeled SMC discriminated the presence of each cell type, whether it existed alone or colocalized in a mixed-cell sample. Conclusion. It is feasible to use Gd oxide and Fe oxide for dual contrast and concurrent discrimination of two colocalized cell populations on MRI at 7 tesla.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging clinical studies of treating brain and spinal cord injury (SCI) with autologous adult stem cells led us to compare the effect of an intravenous injection of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), an injection of a freshly prepared mononuclear fraction of bone marrow cells (BMCs) or bone marrow cell mobilization induced by granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) in rats with a balloon- induced spinal cord compression lesion. MSCs were isolated from rat bone marrow by their adherence to plastic, labeled with iron-oxide nanoparticles and expanded in vitro. Seven days after injury, rats received an intravenous injection of MSCs or BMCs or a subcutaneous injection of GCSF (from day 7 to 11 post-injury). Functional status was assessed weekly for 5 weeks after SCI, using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnehan (BBB) locomotor rating score and the plantar test. Animals with SCI treated with MSCs, BMCs, or G-CSF had higher BBB scores and better recovery of hind limb sensitivity than controls injected with saline. Morphometric measurements showed an increase in the spared white matter. MR images of the spinal cords were taken ex vivo 5 weeks after SCI using a Bruker 4.7-T spectrometer. The lesions populated by grafted MSCs appeared as dark hypointense areas. Histology confirmed a large number of iron-containing and PKH 26-positive cells in the lesion site. We conclude that treatment with three different bone marrow cell populations had a positive effect on behavioral outcome and histopathological assessment after SCI, which was most pronounced after MSC injection.
Journal of Neurotrauma 10/2006; 23(9):1379-91. DOI:10.1089/neu.2006.23.1379 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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