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Stem Cells Int. 2016;2016:4656539. doi: 10.1155/2016/4656539. Epub 2016 Aug 30.

Dynamic Tracking of Injected Mesenchymal Stem Cells after Myocardial Infarction in Rats: A Serial 7T MRI Study.

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Department of Radiology, State Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Disease, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100037, China.
Department of Ultrasound, Anzhen Hospital, Beijing 100029, China.



To track the fate of micron-sized particles of iron oxide (MPIO) labeled mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in vivo in a rat myocardial infarction model using 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.


Male MSCs (2 × 10(6)/50 μL) dual-labeled with MPIO and CM-DiI were injected into the infarct periphery 7 days after myocardial infarction (MI). The control group received cell-free media injection. The temporal stem cell location, signal intensity, and cardiac function were dynamically assessed using a 7T MRI at 24 h before transplantation (baseline), 3 days, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks after transplantation, respectively.


MR hypointensities caused by MPIOs were observed on T2(⁎)-weighted images at all time points after MSCs injection. Cine-MRI showed that MSCs moderated progressive left ventricular remodeling. Double staining for iron and CD68 revealed that most of the iron-positive cells were CD68-positive macrophages. Real-time PCR for rat SRY gene showed the number of survival MSCs considerably decreased after transplantation. MSC-treated hearts had significantly increased capillary density in peri-infarct region and lower cardiomyocytes apoptosis and fibrosis formation.


Iron particles are not a reliable marker for in vivo tracking the long-term fate of MSCs engraftment. Despite of poor cell retention, MSCs moderate left ventricular remodeling after MI.

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