Date: 14 Jun 2012

Labeling Stem Cells with Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles: Analysis of the Labeling Efficacy by Microscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Stem cell therapy has emerged as a potential therapeutic option for cell death-related heart diseases. Application of non-invasive cell tracking approaches is necessary to determine tissue distribution and lifetime of stem cells following their injection and will likely provide knowledge about poorly understood stem cells mechanisms of tissue repair. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a potentially excellent tool for high-resolution visualization of the fate of cells after transplantation and for evaluation of therapeutic strategies. The application of MRI for in vivo cell tracking requires contrast agents to achieve efficient cell labeling without causing any toxic cellular effects or eliciting any other side effects. For these reasons clinically approved contrast agents (e.g., ferumoxides) and incorporation facilitators (e.g., protamine) are currently the preferred materials for cell labeling and tracking. Here we describe how to use superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles to label cells and to monitor cell fate in several disease models.