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Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. 2012 Jul-Aug;4(4):438-47. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1168. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Visualization of inflammation using (19) F-magnetic resonance imaging and perfluorocarbons.

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Department of Neurology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


Inflammation plays a central pathophysiological role in a large number of diseases. While conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can depict gross tissue alterations due to proton changes, specific visualization of inflammation is an unmet task in clinical medicine. (19) F/(1) H MRI is a novel technology that allows tracking of stem and immune cells in experimental disease models after labelling with perfluorocarbon (PFC) emulsions. (19) F markers such as PFC compounds provide a unique signal in vivo due to the negligible (19) F background signal of the body. Concomitant acquisition of (1) H images places the labelled cells into their anatomical context. This novel imaging technique has been applied to monitor immune cell responses in myocardial infarction, pneumonia, bacterial abscess formation, peripheral nerve injury, and rejection of donor organs after transplantation. Upon systemic application PFC nanoparticles are preferentially phagozytosed by circulating monocytes/macrophages and, thus, the fluorine signal in inflamed organs mainly reflects macrophage infiltration. Moreover, attenuation of the inflammatory response after immunosuppressive or antibiotic treatments could be depicted based on (19) F/(1) H-MRI. Compared to other organ systems (19) F-MRI of neuroinflammation is still challenging, mainly because of lack in sensitivity. In focal cerebral ischemia early application of PFCs revealed ongoing thrombotic vessel occlusion rather than cell migration indicating that timing of contrast agent application is critical. Current restrictions of (19) F/(1) H-MRI in sensitivity may be overcome by improved imaging hardware, imaging sequences and reconstruction techniques, as well as improved label development and cell labelling procedures in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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