Monitoring cell infiltration into the myocardial infarction site using micrometer-sized iron oxide particles-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging
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The cell infiltration into the myocardial infarction (MI) site was studied using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with micrometer-sized iron oxide particles (MPIO) as cell labeling probes. MI is a leading cause of global death and disability. However, the roles of inflammatory cells and stem cells during the post-MI remodeling and repair processes are yet to be discovered. This study was to develop noninvasive MRI techniques to monitor and quantify the cellular infiltration into the MI site. MPIO can produce pronounced signal attenuation at regions of interest in MRI. Therefore, cells labeled with these particles can be detected after they are activated and home to the MI site. In the first project, MPIO of various doses were injected into the mouse blood stream 7 days before the MI surgery. Serial MRI was performed at various time points post-MI to monitor the inflammatory cell infiltration into the MI site. Significant signal attenuation caused by labeled cells, in particular macrophages, was observed at the MI site. The study suggests an optimal imaging window should be from 7 to 14 days post-MI, during which the MR signal was inversely proportional to the MPIO dose. The study also suggests an optimal MPIO dose should be between 9.1 and 14.5 µg Fe/g body weight. In the second project, mesenchymal stem cells labeled with MPIO were transplanted into the mouse bone marrow 14 days before the MI surgery. Serial MRI was performed at various time points post-MI to monitor the labeled cells, which mobilized from the bone marrow and homed to the MI site. All the MRI findings were further confirmed by histology. In addition to revealing the characteristics of cell infiltration during MI, this study also provides noninvasive MRI techniques to monitor and potentially quantify labeled cells at the pathological site. The technique can also be used to investigate the function of cells engaged in MI and to test the effect on cell infiltration caused by any treatment strategies.