Purpose: To develop a clinically applicable imaging technique for monitoring differential migration of macrophages into viable and apoptotic matrix-associated stem cell implants (MASIs) in arthritic knee joints. Materials and Methods: With institutional animal care and use committee approval, six athymic rats were injected with intravenous ferumoxytol (0.5 mmol iron per kilogram of body weight) to preload macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system with iron oxide nanoparticles. Forty-eight hours later, all animals received MASIs of viable adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) in an osteochondral defect of the right femur and mitomycin-pretreated apoptotic ADSCs in an osteochondral defect of the left femur. One additional control animal each received intravenous ferumoxytol and bilateral scaffold-only implants (without cells) or bilateral MASIs without prior ferumoxytol injection. All knees were imaged with a 7.0-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging unit with T2-weighted fast spin-echo sequences immediately after, as well as 2 and 4 weeks after, matrix-associated stem cell implantation. Signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of viable and apoptotic MASIs were compared by using a linear mixed-effects model. MR imaging data were correlated with histopathologic findings. Results: All ADSC implants showed a slowly decreasing T2 signal over 4 weeks after matrix-associated stem cell implantation. SNRs decreased significantly over time for the apoptotic implants (SNRs on the day of matrix-associated stem cell implantation, 2 weeks after the procedure, and 4 weeks after the procedure were 16.9, 10.9, and 6.7, respectively; P = .0004) but not for the viable implants (SNRs on the day of matrix-associated stem cell implantation, 2 weeks after the procedure, and 4 weeks after the procedure were 17.7, 16.2, and 15.7, respectively; P = .2218). At 4 weeks after matrix-associated stem cell implantation, SNRs of apoptotic ADSCs were significantly lower than those of viable ADSCs (mean, 6.7 vs 15.7; P = .0013). This corresponded to differential migration of iron-loaded macrophages into MASIs. Conclusion: Iron oxide loading of macrophages in the reticuloendothelial system by means of intravenous ferumoxytol injection can be utilized to monitor differential migration of bone marrow macrophages into viable and apoptotic MASIs in a rat model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging