High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of iron-labeled myoblasts using a standard 1.5-T clinical scanner

Zhuoli Zhang, Ewout J. Van Den Bos, Piotr A. Wielopolski*, Marcel De Jong-Popijus, Dirk J. Duncker, Gabriel P. Krestin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Myoblast transplantation is a promising means of restoring cardiac function in infarcted areas. For optimization of transplant protocols, tracking the location and fate of the injected cells is necessary. An attractive imaging modality for this is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as it is noninvasive and as iron-labeled myoblasts provide a signal attenuation in T2*-weighted protocols. The aim of this study was to develop an efficient iron-labeling protocol for myoblasts and to visualize single-labeled cells using a clinical 1.5-T scanner. Pig myoblasts were labeled with a superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) agent using a liposome transfection agent. Labeling efficiency, toxicity, cell viability, and proliferative capacity were measured for 10 days. Magnetic resonance (MR) of myoblast cultures used a T2*-weighted three-dimensional protocol with a maximum in-plane resolution of 19.5 × 26.0 μm 2 and 50 μm slices. Use of liposomes improved SPIO labeling efficiency. Labeling did not induce toxicity or affect cell viability or proliferation. The cell distribution as observed with light and fluorescence microscopy matched the signal voids observed in the MRI datasets. Liposomes promote fast, nontoxic and efficient SPIO labeling of myoblasts that can be tracked by MRI microscopy in clinical scanners using susceptibility-weighted protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalMagnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine
Issue number3-6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Cell tracking
  • Iron labeling
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Myoblasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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