Labeling of stem cells with monocrystalline iron oxide for tracking and localization by magnetic resonance imaging

Sergio Li Calzi, David L. Kent, Kyung Hee Chang, Kyle R. Padgett, Aqeela Afzal, Saurav B. Chandra, Sergio Caballero, Denis English, Wendy Garlington, Paul S. Hiscott, Carl M. Sheridan, Maria B. Grant, John R. Forder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Precise localization of exogenously delivered stem cells is critical to our understanding of their reparative response. Our current inability to determine the exact location of small numbers of cells may hinder optimal development of these cells for clinical use. We describe a method using magnetic resonance imaging to track and localize small numbers of stem cells following transplantation. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) were labeled with monocrystalline iron oxide nanoparticles (MIONs) which neither adversely altered their viability nor their ability to migrate in vitro and allowed successful detection of limited numbers of these cells in muscle. MION-labeled stem cells were also injected into the vitreous cavity of mice undergoing the model of choroidal neovascularization, laser rupture of Bruch's membrane. Migration of the MION-labeled cells from the injection site towards the laser burns was visualized by MRI. In conclusion, MION labeling of EPC provides a non-invasive means to define the location of small numbers of these cells. Localization of these cells following injection is critical to their optimization for therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalMicrovascular Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell localization
  • Cell therapy
  • Choroidal neovascularization
  • In vivo tracking
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • MION
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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