Comparison of Optical Bioluminescence Reporter Gene and Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide MR Contrast Agent as Cell Markers for Noninvasive Imaging of Cardiac Cell Transplantation
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In this study, we compared firefly luciferase (Fluc) reporter gene and superparamagnetic iron oxide (Feridex) as cell markers for longitudinal monitoring of cardiomyoblast graft survival using optical bioluminescence imaging (BLI) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), respectively.
Rats (n = 31) underwent an intramyocardial injection of cardiomyoblasts (2 × 106) labeled with Fluc, Feridex, or no marker (control) or an injection of Feridex alone (75 μg). Afterward, rats were serially imaged with BLI or MRI and killed at different time points for histological analysis.
BLI revealed a drastically different cell survival kinetics (half-life = 2.65 days over 6 days) than that revealed by MRI (half-life = 16.8 days over 80 days). Injection of Feridex alone led to prolonged tissue retention of Feridex (≥16 days) and persistent MR signal (≥42 days).
Fluc BLI reporter gene imaging is a more accurate gauge of transplanted cell survival as compared to MRI of Feridex-labeled cells.
Key wordsOptical bioluminescence imaging Magnetic resonance imaging Reporter gene Contrast agent Cell marker Cell transplantation
This work was supported in part by NHLBI 5R01HL078632 (S.S.G.), NCI ICMIC P50 CA114747 (S.S.G.), NCI SAIRP (S.S.G.), American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship (I.Y.C.), Stanford Bio-X Graduate Student Fellowship (I.Y.C), Swiss Foundation of Medical-Biological Grants (JKW), Novartis Research Foundation (JKW), Swiss Society of Radiology (JKW), and AHA Beginning Grant in Aid (J.C.W.).