Monitoring bone marrow-originated mesenchymal stem cell traffic to myocardial infarction sites using magnetic resonance imaging

Yidong Yang, Autumn Schumacher, Yuhui Yang, Jimei Liu, Xingming Shi, William D. Hill, Tom C C Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


How stem cells promote myocardial repair in myocardial infarction (MI) is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to noninvasively monitor and quantify mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from bone marrow to MI sites using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MSC were dual-labeled with an enhanced green fluorescent protein and micrometer-sized iron oxide particles prior to intra-bone marrow transplantation into the tibial medullary space of C57Bl/6 mice. Micrometer-sized iron oxide particles labeling caused signal attenuation in T2*-weighted MRI and thus allowed noninvasive cell tracking. Longitudinal MRI demonstrated MSC infiltration into MI sites over time. Fluorescence from both micrometer-sized iron oxide particles and enhanced green fluorescent protein in histology validated the presence of dual-labeled cells at MI sites. This study demonstrated that MSC traffic to MI sites can be noninvasively monitored in MRI by labeling cells with micrometer-sized iron oxide particles. The dual-labeled MSC at MI sites maintained their capability of proliferation and differentiation. The dual-labeling, intra-bone marrow transplantation, and MRI cell tracking provided a unique approach for investigating stem cells' roles in the post-MI healing process. This technique can potentially be applied to monitor possible effects on stem cell mobilization caused by given treatment strategies. Magn Reson Med, 2011.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1430-1436
Number of pages7
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • fluorescent imaging
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • murine model
  • myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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