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Open Access 18F-FDG Cell Labeling May Underestimate Transplanted Cell Homing: More Accurate, Efficient, and Stable Cell Labeling With Hexadecyl-4-[18F]Fluorobenzoate for In Vivo Tracking of Transplanted Human Progenitor Cells by Positron Emission Tomography

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Cell therapy is expected to restore perfusion and improve function in the ischemic/infarcted myocardium; however, the biological mechanisms and local effects of transplanted cells remain unclear. To assess cell fate in vivo, hexadecyl-4-[18F]fluorobenzoate (18F-HFB) cell labeling was evaluated for tracking human circulating progenitor cells (CPCs) with positron emission tomography (PET) and was compared to the commonly used 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose (18F-FDG) labeling method in a rat myocardial infarction model. CPCs were labeled with 18F-HFB or 18F-FDG ex vivo under the same conditions. 18F-HFB cell-labeling efficiency (23.4 ± 7.5%) and stability (4 h, 88.4 ± 6.0%) were superior to 18F-FDG (7.6 ± 4.1% and 26.6 ± 6.1%, respectively; p < 0.05). Neither labeling approach significantly altered cell viability, phenotype or migration potential up to 24 h postlabeling. Two weeks after left anterior descending coronary artery ligation, rats received echo-guided intramyocardial injection in the infarct border zone with 18F-HFB-CPCs, 18F-FDG-CPCs, 18F-HFB, or 18F-FDG. Dynamic PET imaging of both 18F-HFB-CPCs and18F-FDG-CPCs demonstrated that only 16‐37% of the initial injection dose (ID) was retained in the injection site at 10 min postdelivery, and remaining activity fell significantly over the first 4 h posttransplantation. The 18F-HFB-CPC signal in the target area at 2 h (23.7 ± 14.7% ID/g) and 4 h (17.6 ± 13.3% ID/g) postinjection was greater than that of 18F-FDG-CPCs (5.4 ± 2.3% ID/g and 2.6 ± 0.7% ID/g, respectively;p < 0.05). Tissue biodistribution confirmed the higher radioactivity in the border zone of 18F-HFB-CPC rats. Immunostaining of heart tissue sections revealed no significant difference in cell retention between two labeled cell transplantation groups. Good correlation with biodistribution results was observed in the 18F-HFB-CPC rats (r = 0.81, p < 0.05). Compared to 18F-FDG, labeling human CPCs with18F-HFB provides a more efficient, stable, and accurate way to quantify the distribution of transplanted cells. 18F-HFB cell labeling with PET imaging offers a better modality to enhance our understanding of early retention, homing, and engraftment with cardiac cell therapy.
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Keywords: Cell tracking; Myocardial infarction; Positron emission tomography; Stem cells; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • 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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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