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Theranostics. 2013 Dec 17;3(11):916-26. doi: 10.7150/thno.6943. eCollection 2013.

Using C-arm x-ray imaging to guide local reporter probe delivery for tracking stem cell engraftment.

Author information

1
1. Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of MR Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
2
1. Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of MR Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States. ; 2. Cellular Imaging Section and Vascular Biology Program, Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
3
3. Center for Applied Medical Imaging, Corporate Technology, Siemens Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
4
1. Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of MR Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States. ; 3. Center for Applied Medical Imaging, Corporate Technology, Siemens Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
5
4. Pattern Recognition Lab, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.
6
1. Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of MR Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States. ; 5. Department of Radiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Abstract

Poor cell survival and difficulties with visualization of cell delivery are major problems with current cell transplantation methods. To protect cells from early destruction, microencapsulation methods have been developed. The addition of a contrast agent to the microcapsule also could enable tracking by MR, ultrasound, and X-ray imaging. However, determining the cell viability within the microcapsule still remains an issue. Reporter gene imaging provides a way to determine cell viability, but delivery of the reporter probe by systemic injection may be hindered in ischemic diseases. In the present study, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were transfected with triple fusion reporter gene containing red fluorescent protein, truncated thymidine kinase (SPECT/PET reporter) and firefly luciferase (bioluminescence reporter). Transfected cells were microencapsulated in either unlabeled or perfluorooctylbromide (PFOB) impregnated alginate. The addition of PFOB provided radiopacity to enable visualization of the microcapsules by X-ray imaging. Before intramuscular transplantation in rabbit thigh muscle, the microcapsules were incubated with D-luciferin, and bioluminescence imaging (BLI) was performed immediately. Twenty-four and forty-eight hours post transplantation, c-arm CT was used to target the luciferin to the X-ray-visible microcapsules for BLI cell viability assessment, rather than systemic reporter probe injections. Not only was the bioluminescent signal emission from the PFOB-encapsulated MSCs confirmed as compared to non-encapsulated, naked MSCs, but over 90% of injection sites of PFOB-encapsulated MSCs were visible on c-arm CT. The latter aided in successful targeting of the reporter probe to injection sites using conventional X-ray imaging to determine cell viability at 1-2 days post transplantation. Blind luciferin injections to the approximate location of unlabeled microcapsules resulted in successful BLI signal detection in only 18% of injections. In conclusion, reporter gene probes can be more precisely targeted using c-arm CT for in vivo transplant viability assessment, thereby avoiding large and costly systemic injections of a reporter probe.

KEYWORDS:

bioluminescence; c-arm CT; mesenchymal stem cells; microencapsulation; probe targeting.; reporter gene

PMID:
24396502
PMCID:
PMC3879108
DOI:
10.7150/thno.6943
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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