Bioluminescence Reporter Gene Imaging of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Survival, Proliferation, and Fate

  • Kitchener D. Wilson
  • Mei Huang
  • Joseph C. Wu
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 574)


The discovery of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) has dramatically increased the tools available to medical scientists interested in regenerative medicine. However, direct injection of hESCs, and cells differentiated from hESCs, into living organisms has thus far been hampered by significant cell death, teratoma formation, and host immune rejection. Understanding the in vivo hESC behavior after transplantation requires novel imaging techniques to longitudinally monitor hESC localization, proliferation, and viability. Molecular imaging, and specifically bioluminescent reporter gene imaging, has given investigators a high-throughput, inexpensive, and sensitive means for tracking in vivo cell proliferation over days, weeks, and even months. This advancement has significantly increased the understanding of the spatiotemporal kinetics of hESC engraftment and proliferation in living subjects. In this chapter, the specific materials and methods needed for tracking stem cell proliferation with bioluminescence imaging will be described.

Key words

Human embryonic stem cells molecular imaging reporter gene bioluminescence luciferase 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kitchener D. Wilson
    • 1
  • Mei Huang
    • 1
  • Joseph C. Wu
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of BioengineeringStanford University; Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineMolecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Division of CardiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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