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Eur Radiol. 2010 Sep;20(9):2184-93. doi: 10.1007/s00330-010-1773-z.

Non-invasive tracking of human haemopoietic CD34(+) stem cells in vivo in immunodeficient mice by using magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Gynaecology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany.



To assess migration of CD34(+) human stem cells to the bone marrow of athymic mice by using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and Resovist, a contrast agent containing superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) particles.


All animal and human procedures were approved by our institution's ethics committee, and women had given consent to donate umbilical cord blood (UCB). Balb/c-AnN Foxn1(nu)/Crl mice received intravenous injection of 1 x 10(6) (n=3), 5 x 10(6) (n=3) or 1 x 10(7) (n=3) human Resovist-labelled CD34(+) cells; control mice received Resovist (n=3). MR imaging was performed before, 2 and 24 h after transplantation. Signal intensities of liver, muscle and bone marrow were measured and analysed by ANOVA and post hoc Student's t tests. MR imaging data were verified by histological and immunological detection of both human cell surface markers and carboxydextrancoating of the contrast agent.


CD34(+) cells were efficiently labelled by Resovist without impairment of functionality. Twenty-four hours after administration of labelled cells, MR imaging revealed a significant signal decline in the bone marrow, and histological and immunological analyses confirmed the presence of transplanted human CD34(+) cells.


Intravenously administered Resovist-labelled CD34(+) cells home to bone marrow of mice. Homing can be tracked in vivo by using clinical 1.5-T MR imaging technology.

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