Cell motility of neural stem cells is reduced after SPIO-labeling, which is mitigated after exocytosis

Stacey M. Cromer Berman, Kshitiz, C. Joanne Wang, Inema Orukari, Andre Levchenko, Jeff W.M. Bulte, Piotr Walczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MRI is used for tracking of superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-labeled neural stem cells. Studies have shown that long-term MR tracking of rapidly dividing cells underestimates their migration distance. Time-lapse microscopy of random cellular motility and cell division was performed to evaluate the effects of SPIO-labeling on neural stem cell migration. Labeled cells divided symmetrically and exhibited no changes in cell viability, proliferation, or apoptosis. However, SPIO-labeling resulted in decreased motility of neural stem cells as compared with unlabeled controls. When SPIO-labeled neural stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells were transplanted into mouse brain, rapid exocytosis of SPIO by live cells was observed as early as 48 h postengraftment, with SPIO-depleted cells showing the farthest migration distance. As label dilution is negligible at this early time point, we conclude that MRI underestimation of cell migration can also occur as a result of reduced cell motility, which appears to be mitigated following SPIO exocytosis. Magn Reson Med, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • cell tracking
  • exocytosis
  • neural stem cell
  • superparamagnetic iron oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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