Research Summary: In Vivo Serial MR Imaging of Magnetically Labeled Endothelial Progenitor Cells Homing to the Endothelium Injured Artery in Mice



Emerging evidence of histopathological analyses suggests that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play an important role in vascular diseases. Neointimal hyperplasia can be reduced by intravenous transfusion of EPCs after vascular injury in mice. Therefore, it would be advantageous to develop an in vivo technique that can explore the temporal and spatial migration of EPCs homing to the damaged endothelium noninvasively.

Methodology/Principal Findings

The left carotid common artery (LCCA) was injured by removal of endothelium with a flexible wire in Kunming mice. EPCs were collected by in vitro culture of spleen-derived mouse mononuclear cells (MNCs). EPCs labeling was carried out in vitro using Fe2O3-poly-L-lysine (Fe2O3-PLL). In vivo serial MR imaging was performed to follow-up the injured artery at different time points after intravenous transfusion of EPCs. Vessel wall areas of injured artery were computed on T2WI. Larger MR signal voids of vessel wall on T2WI was revealed in all 6 mice of the labeled EPC transfusion group 15 days after LCCA injury, and it was found only in 1 mouse in the unlabeled EPC transfusion group (p = 0.015). Quantitative analyses of vessel wall areas on T2WI showed that the vessel wall areas of labeled EPC transfusion group were less than those of unlabeled EPC transfusion group and control group fifteen days after artery injury (p<0.05). Histopathological analyses confirmed accumulation and distribution of transfused EPCs at the injury site of LCCA.


These data indicate that MR imaging might be used as an in vivo method for the tracking of EPCs homing to the endothelium injured artery.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 24-June-2011

Author(s): Chen J., Jia Z., Ma Z., Wang Y., Teng G.


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