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Ann Biomed Eng. 2007 Jan;35(1):101-8. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

In vivo MR imaging of tissue-engineered human mesenchymal stem cells transplanted to mouse: a preliminary study.

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Department of Radiology, College of Medicine, 134 ShinChon-Dong, Seodaemun-Ku, Seoul, 120-752, Republic of Korea.


Current progress integrating stem cell biology and tissue engineering techniques has been invaluable to clinical applications. Prior to the application of cellular transplantation technique to patients, we need to establish techniques that can monitor their tissue biodistribution non-invasively. In this study, we proposed an imaging modality using MRI to not only monitor implanted scaffold in vivo, but also to track transplanted cells and behavior around the implant. For this purpose, human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide (Feridex) and then labeled hMSCs were cultured in a gelatin sponge used as a scaffold to support cell growth and proliferation. Histological assessment and MTT assay showed that cell labeling with MR contrast agent did not harm cell viability. Also, Feridex-labeled hMSCs showed a significant decrease in T2 signal intensity, even within the gelatin sponge in vitro. After implanting the sponge/cell complex in vivo, we could visualize cellular behavior around the implant over time using a noninvasive MRI modality and this finding was correlated with histological study, which illustrates the potential of a new approach proposed here for in vivo monitoring of implanted cell-based tissue-engineered product.

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