Brain Res  1391:24 (2011)

Evaluation of cell tracking effects for transplanted mesenchymal stem cells with jetPEI/Gd-DTPA complexes in animal models of hemorrhagic spinal cord injury.

Yu Liu1,2, Zhi-Jie He5, Bo Xu1,Qi-Zhu Wu2, Gang Liu3, Su Lui2, Qian Zhong1, David Deng1*, Hua Ai3, Qiang Yue2, Yi Wei2, Shen Jun5, Guangqian Zhou4, Qi-Yong Gong2


Cell tracking using iron oxide nanoparticles has been well established in MRI.However, in experimental rat models, the intrinsic iron signal derived from erythrocytes masks the labeled cells. The research evaluated a clinically applied Gd-DTPA for T1-weighted positive enhancement for cell tracking in spinal cord injury (SCI) rat models. MSCs were labeled with jetPEI/Gd-DTPA particles to evaluate the transfection efficiency by MRI in vitro. Differentiation assays were carried out to evaluate the differentiation ability of Gd-DTPA-labeled MSCs. The Gd-DTPA-labeled MSCs were transplanted to rat SCI model and monitored by MRI in vivo. Fluorescence images were taken to confirm the MRI results. Behavior test was assessed with Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) scoring in 6 weeks after cell transplantation. The Gd-labeled MSCs showed a significant increase in signal intensity in T1-weighted images. After local transplantation, Gd-DTPA-labeled MSCs could be detected in SCI rat models by the persistent T1-weighted positive enhancement from 3 to 14 days. Under electronic microscope, Gd-DTPA/jetPEI complexes were mostly observed in cytoplasm. Fluorescence microscopy examination showed that the Gd-labeled MSCs survived and distributed within the injured spinal cord until 2 weeks. The Gd-labeled MSCs was identified and tracked with MRI by cross and sagittal sections. The BBB scores of the rats with labeled MSCs transplantation were significantly higher than those of control rats. Our results demonstrated Gd-DTPA is appropriate for cell tracking in rat model of SCI, indicating that an efficient and nontoxic label method with Gd-DTPA could properly track MSCs in hemorrhage animal models.

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