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NMR Biomed. 2012 Apr;25(4):620-31. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1778. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

In vivo MRI of olfactory ensheathing cell grafts and regenerating axons in transplant mediated repair of the adult rat optic nerve.

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Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.


The purpose of the present study was to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a tool for monitoring transplant-mediated repair of the adult rat visual pathway. We labelled rat olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) using micron-sized particles of iron oxide (MPIO) and transplanted them by: i) intravitreal injection (ivit) and ii) intra-optic nerve (ON) injection (iON) in adult rats with ON crush (ONC) injury. We applied T(2)-weighted MRI and manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) to visualise transplanted cells and ON axons at specific times after injury and cell engraftment. Our findings demonstrate that ivit MPIO-labelled OECs are unequivocally detected by T(2)-weighted MRI in vivo and that the T(1)-weighted 3D FLASH sequence applied for MEMRI facilitates simultaneous visualisation of Mn(2+-) enhanced regenerating retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons and MPIO-labelled OEC grafts. Furthermore, analysis of MRI data and ultrastructural findings supports the hypothesis that iON OEC transplants mediate regeneration and remyelination of RGC axons post injury.

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