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Neuroimage. 2006 Sep;32(3):1150-7. Epub 2006 Jun 30.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the migration of neuronal precursors generated in the adult rodent brain.

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Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Imaging, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) reside within the subventricular zone (SVZ) in rodents. These NPCs give rise to neural precursors in adults that migrate to the olfactory bulb (OB) along a well-defined pathway, the rostral migratory stream (RMS). Here we demonstrate that these NPCs can be labeled, in vivo, in adult rats with fluorescent, micron-sized iron oxide particles (MPIOs), and that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect migrating neural precursors carrying MPIOs along the RMS to the OB. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy indicated that particles were inside GFAP(+) neural progenitor cells in the SVZ, migrating PSA-NCAM(+) and Doublecortin(+) neural precursors within the RMS and OB, and Neu-N(+) mature neurons in the OB. This work demonstrates that in vivo cell labeling of progenitor cells for MRI is possible and enables the serial, non-invasive visualization of endogenous progenitor/precursor cell migration.

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