The in vitro effects of a bimodal contrast agent on cellular functions and relaxometry

Cecilie Brekke, Sarah C. Morgan, Andrew S. Lowe, Thomas J. Meade, Jack Price, Steve C.R. Williams, Michel Modo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The in vivo monitoring of cell survival and migration will be essential to the translation of cell-based therapies from the laboratory to clinical studies. The pre-labeling of cells with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents renders them visible in vivo for serial cellular imaging. However, little is known about the impact of the presence of these metal particles inside transplanted cells. The use of the bimodal contrast agent GRID made it possible to demonstrate by means of fluorescent microscopy and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) that, after 16 h of incubation (without the use of a transfection agent), neural stem cells (NSCs) were saturated and no longer incorporated particles. With this maximal uptake, no significant effect on cell viability was observed. However, a significant decrease in proliferation was evident in cells that underwent 24 h of labeling. A significant increase in reactive oxygen species was observed for all GRID labeling, with a very significant increase with 24 h of labeling. GRID labeling did not affect cell motility in comparison with PKH26-labeled NSCs in a glioma-based migration assay and also allowed differentiation into all major cell types of the brain. GRID-labeled cells induced a signal change of 47% on T2 measurements and allows a detection of cell clusters of ∼220 cells/μl. Further in vivo testing will be required to ensure that cell labeling with gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents does not impair their ability to repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-89
Number of pages13
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Cellular MR imaging
  • Contrast agent
  • Differentiation
  • GRID
  • MRI
  • Proliferation
  • Relaxometry
  • Stem cell
  • Toxicity
  • Viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy

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