Send to

Choose Destination
J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2015 Nov;9(11):1217-24. doi: 10.1002/term.1907. Epub 2014 Jun 11.

Imaging modalities for the in vivo surveillance of mesenchymal stromal cells.

Author information

Department of Renal Transplantation, St Georges Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK.
Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.


Bone marrow stromal cells exist as mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and have the capacity to differentiate into multiple tissue types when subjected to appropriate culture conditions. This property of MSCs creates therapeutic opportunities in regenerative medicine for the treatment of damage to neural, cardiac and musculoskeletal tissues or acute kidney injury. The prerequisite for successful cell therapy is delivery of cells to the target tissue. Assessment of therapeutic outcomes utilize traditional methods to examine cell function of MSC populations involving routine biochemical or histological analysis for cell proliferation, protein synthesis and gene expression. However, these methods do not provide sufficient spatial and temporal information. In vivo surveillance of MSC migration to the site of interest can be performed through a variety of imaging modalities such as the use of radiolabelling, fluc protein expression bioluminescence imaging and paramagnetic nanoparticle magnetic resonance imaging. This review will outline the current methods of in vivo surveillance of exogenously administered MSCs in regenerative medicine while addressing potential technological developments. Furthermore, nanoparticles and microparticles for cellular labelling have shown that migration of MSCs can be spatially and temporally monitored. In vivo surveillance therefore permits time-stratified assessment in animal models without disruption of the target organ. In vivo tracking of MSCs is non-invasive, repeatable and non-toxic. Despite the excitement that nanoparticles for tracking MSCs offer, delivery methods are difficult because of the challenges with imaging three-dimensional systems. The current advances and growth in MSC research, is likely to provide a wealth of evidence overcoming these issues.


bioluminescence; cellular tracer; in vivo monitoring, magnetic resonance imaging; mesenchymal stromal cell; quantum dots; radioisotope; radiolabelled imaging; ultrasound photoacoustic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center