MRI of intravenously injected bone marrow cells homing to the site of injured arteries

Fabao Gao, Sourav Kar, Jiangyang Zhang, Bensheng Qiu, Piotr Walczak, Malika Larabi, Rong Xue, Emma Frost, Zhiping Qian, Jeff W.M. Bulte, Xiaoming Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of using MRI to detect magnetically labeled, intravenously injected bone marrow (BM) cells homing to injured arteries. In the first phase, BM cells from LacZ-transgenic or green fluorescent protein (GFP)-transgenic mice were transplanted into eight recipient mice. The left femoral arteries of recipient mice were injured using a cuff-constriction or endothelium-damage approach, and the right femoral arteries were uninjured to serve as controls. The location and distribution of migrated LacZ-BM or GFP-BM cells were confirmed with histology. In the second phase, BM-derived cells from LacZ-transgenic mice were labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide (Feridex) and then transplanted into eight recipient mice with cuff-induced injuries in the left femoral arteries. Migrated Feridex/LacZ-BM cells were monitored in vivo using a 4.7 T MR scanner. Subsequently, high-resolution ex vivo MRI was performed on 9.4 T and 11.7 T. LacZ-positive or GFP-positive cells in the thickened adventitia of the injured arteries were evident on histology. Both in vivo and ex vivo MRI showed larger regions of hypointensity with Feridex-labeled cells at the sites of the injured arteries compared with control arteries (P < 0.01). This study provides initial evidence that may support the potential use of MRI to detect homing of intravenously injected BM cells to injured arteries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-681
Number of pages9
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Arteries
  • Bone marrow cells
  • MRI
  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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