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Open Access Labeling Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes With Indocyanine Green for Noninvasive Tracking With Optical Imaging: An FDA-Compatible Alternative to Firefly Luciferase

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Abstract:

Human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CMs) have demonstrated the ability to improve myocardial function following transplantation into an ischemic heart; however, the functional benefits are transient possibly due to poor cell retention. A diagnostic technique that could visualize transplanted hESC-CMs could help to optimize stem cell delivery techniques. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop a labeling technique for hESCs and hESC-CMs with the FDA-approved contrast agent indocyanine green (ICG) for optical imaging (OI). hESCs were labeled with 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 2.5 mg/ml of ICG for 30, 45, and 60 min at 37°C. Longitudinal OI studies were performed with both hESCs and hESC-CMs. The expression of surface proteins was assessed with immunofluorescent staining. hESCs labeled with 2 mg ICG/ml for 60 min achieved maximum fluorescence. Longitudinal studies revealed that the fluorescent signal was equivalent to controls at 120 h postlabeling. The fluorescence signal of hESCs and hESC-CMs at 1, 24, and 48 h was significantly higher compared to precontrast data (p < 0.05). Immunocytochemistry revealed retention of cell-specific surface and nuclear markers postlabeling. These data demonstrate that hESCs and hESC-CMs labeled with ICG show a significant fluorescence up to 48 h and can be visualized with OI. The labeling procedure does not impair the viability or functional integrity of the cells. The technique may be useful for assessing different delivery routes in order to improve the engraftment of transplanted hESC-CMs or other stem cell progenitors.

Keywords: Cardiomyocytes; Cell labeling; Contrast agent; Indocyanine green; Optical imaging; Stem cell

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368909X

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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