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J Biomed Mater Res. 2001 Sep 5;56(3):361-7.

In vivo tracking of bone marrow fibroblasts with fluorescent carbocyanine dye.

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Laboratoire de Recherches Orthopédiques, CNRS UPRES-A 7052, Université D. Diderot, Faculté de Médecine Lariboisière, Saint-Louis, 10 Avenue de Verdun, 75010 Paris, France.


Recent advances in the field of tissue engineering have culminated in new tissue substitutes that combine a biomaterial and precursor cells. The effectiveness of these materials is generally assessed in animals, but few studies explore the fate of the transplanted cells in vivo, despite its paramount importance for understanding the function of the engineered tissues. Current methods that use reporter genes or chimeric animals are not always well suited to solving tissue-engineering problems. We therefore developed a new method for irreversible labeling of cells to track their fate in vivo. We used a fluorescent lipophilic probe, CM-Dil, that avidly binds to the cell membrane. Human bone marrow stromal fibroblasts could be labeled with 20 microM CM-Dil in 30 min. The CM-Dil was not cytotoxic and did not affect cell proliferation in vitro. Cells could be monitored for up to 30 days when placed in a coral scaffold and implanted intramuscularly or in a bony site. However, the fluorescence intensity decreased roughly in parallel with the number of cell divisions. This fact needs to be taken into account during the design and interpretation of experiments. We believe that this technique is also of interest for other cell types.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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