Research Summary: Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Soft Tissue Infection with Iron Oxide Labeled Granulocytes in a Rat Model



We sought to detect an acute soft tissue infection in rats by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using granulocytes, previously labeled with superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (SPIO).

Materials and Methods

Parasternal infection was induced by subcutaneous inoculation of Staphylococcus aureus suspension in rats. Granulocytes isolated from isogenic donor rats were labeled with SPIO. Infected rats were imaged by MRI before, 6 and 12 hours after intravenous injection of SPIO-labeled or unlabeled granulocytes. MR findings were correlated with histological analysis by Prussian blue staining and with re-isolated SPIO-labeled granulocytes from the infectious area by magnetic cell separation.


Susceptibility effects were present in infected sites on post-contrast T2*-weighted MR images in all animals of the experimental group. Regions of decreased signal intensity (SI) in MRI were detected at 6 hours after granulocyte administration and were more pronounced at 12 hours. SPIO-labeled granulocytes were identified by Prussian blue staining in the infected tissue and could be successfully re-isolated from the infected area by magnetic cell separation.


The application of SPIO-labeled granulocytes in MRI offers new perspectives in diagnostic specificity and sensitifity to detect early infectious processes.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 7-December-2012

Author(s): Baraki H., Zinne N., Wedekind D., Meier M., Bleich A., Glage S., Hedrich H., Kutschka I., Haverich A.


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