The distribution of cells within tissue-engineered constructs is difficult to study through nondestructive means, such as would be required after implantation. However, cell labeling with iron-containing particles may prove to be a useful approach to this problem, because regions containing such labeled cells have been shown to be readily detectable using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, we used the Food and Drug Administration-approved superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) contrast agent Feridex in combination with transfection agents to label chondrocytes and visualize them with MRI in two different tissue-engineered cartilage constructs. Correspondence between labeled cell spatial location as determined using MRI and histology was established. The SPIO-labeling process was found not to affect the phenotype or viability of the chondrocytes or the production of major cartilage matrix constituents. We believe that this method of visualizing and tracking chondrocytes may be useful in the further development of tissue engineered cartilage therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering