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Neuro Oncol. 2012 Apr;14(4):471-81. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nor228. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Monitoring the glioma tropism of bone marrow-derived progenitor cells by 2-photon laser scanning microscopy and positron emission tomography.

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Department of General Neurology, University Hospital Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


Intracerebral experimental gliomas attract intravenously injected murine or human bone marrow-derived hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells (HPC) in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo, indicating that these progenitor cells might be suitable vehicles for a cell-based delivery of therapeutic molecules to malignant gliomas. With regard to therapeutic application, it is important to investigate cell fates in vivo (i.e., the time-dependent intratumoral and systemic distribution after intravenously injection). Conventional histological analysis has limitations in this regard because longitudinal monitoring is precluded. Here, we used 2-photon laser scanning microscopy (2PLSM), positron emission tomography (PET), and MRI to study the fate of intravenously injected HPC carrying fluorescence, bioluminescence, and PET reporter genes in glioma-bearing mice. Our 2PLSM-based monitoring studies revealed that HPC homing to intracerebral experimental gliomas occurred already within the first 6 h and was most efficient within the first 24 h after intravenous injection. The highest PET signals were detected in intracerebral gliomas, whereas the tracer uptake in other organs, notably spleen, lung, liver, and muscle, remained at background levels. The results have important implications for designing schedules for therapeutic cell-based anti-glioma approaches. Moreover, the PET reporter-based imaging technique will allow noninvasive monitoring of cell fate in future cell-based therapeutic antiglioma approaches.

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