LacZ-transfected C17.2 neural stem cells (NSCs) were labeled with the superparamagnetic iron oxide formulation Feridex prior to ICV injection in shi/shi neonates. Feridex labeling did not alter cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Initially, MR images obtained at 11.7T correlated closely to NSC distribution as assessed with anti-dextran and anti-β-galactosidase double-fluorescent immunostaining. However, at 6 days post grafting there was already a pronounced mismatch between the hypointense MR signal and the histologically determined cell distribution, with a surprisingly sharp cutoff rather than a gradual decrease of signal. Positive in vivo BrdU labeling of NSCs showed that significant cell replication occurred post-transplantation, causing rapid dilution of Feridex particles between mother and daughter cells toward undetectable levels. Neural differentiation experiments demonstrated asymmetric cell division, explaining the observed sharp cutoff. At later time points (2 weeks), the mismatch further increased by the presence of non-cell-associated Feridex particles resulting from active excretion or cell death. These results are a first demonstration of the inability of MRI to track rapidly dividing and self-renewing, asymmetrically dividing SCs. Therefore, MR cell tracking should only be applied for nonproliferating cells or short-term monitoring of highly-proliferative cells, with mitotic symmetry or asymmetry being important for determining its applicability.
- Iron oxide
- MR cell tracking
- Neural stem cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging