Migration of iron oxide-labeled human hematopoietic progenitor cells in a mouse model: in vivo monitoring with 1.5-T MR imaging equipment.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the use of clinical 1.5-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging equipment to depict the in vivo distribution of iron oxide-labeled human hematopoietic progenitor cells in athymic mice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was approved by the ethical committee, and all women had given consent to donate umbilical cord blood for research. Twenty athymic female Balb/c mice underwent MR imaging before and 1, 4, 24, and 48 hours after intravenous injection of (1-3) x 10(7) human hematopoietic progenitor cells labeled with the superparamagnetic iron oxide particles ferumoxides through simple incubation (n = 10) or P7228 through lipofection (n = 10). Fifteen female Balb/c control mice were examined after intravenous injection of the pure contrast agents (n = 6 for both probes) or nonlabeled cells (n = 3). Signal intensities of liver, spleen, and bone marrow on MR images obtained before and after injection were measured and compared for significant differences by using the t test. MR imaging data were compared with the results of immunostaining against human CD31(+) cells and against the coating of the contrast agents; these results served as the standard of reference. RESULTS: Ferumoxides was internalized into more mature CD34(-) cells but not into CD34(+) stem cells, while P7228 liposomes were internalized into both CD34(-) and CD34(+) cells. After injection of iron oxide-labeled hematopoietic cells, a significant decrease in MR signal intensity was observed in liver and spleen at 1, 4, 24, and 48 hours after injection (P< .05) and in the bone marrow at 24 and 48 hours after injection (P< .05). The signal intensity decrease in bone marrow was significantly stronger after injection of iron oxide-labeled cells compared to controls that received injections of the pure contrast agent (P< .05). Results of histopathologic examination confirmed homing of iron oxide-labeled human progenitor cells in the murine recipient organs. CONCLUSION: The in vivo distribution of intravenously administered iron oxide-labeled hematopoietic progenitor cells can be monitored with 1.5-T MR imaging equipment.