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Open Access Imaging Neural Stem Cell Graft-Induced Structural Repair in Stroke

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Stem cell therapy ameliorates motor deficits in experimental stroke model. Multimodal molecular imaging enables real-time longitudinal monitoring of infarct location, size, and transplant survival. In the present study, we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to track the infarct evolution, tissue repair, and the fate of grafted cells. We genetically engineered embryonic stem cell-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) with a triple fusion reporter gene to express monomeric red fluorescence protein and herpes simplex virus-truncated thymidine kinase for multimodal molecular imaging and SPIO labeled for MRI. The infarct size as well as fate and function of grafted cells were tracked in real time for 3 months using MRI and PET. We report that grafted NSCs reduced the infarct size in animals with less than 0.1 cm3 initial infarct in a dose-dependent manner, while larger stroke was not amenable to such beneficial effects. PET imaging revealed increased metabolic activity in grafted animals and visualized functioning grafted cells in vivo. Immunohistopathological analysis demonstrated that, after a 3-month survival period, grafted NSCs dispersed in the stroke-lesioned parenchyma and differentiated into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Longitudinal multimodal imaging provides insights into time course dose-dependent interactions between NSC grafts and structural changes in infarcted tissue.

Keywords: Cell therapy; Human neural stem cells (NSCs); Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Molecular imaging; Position emission tomography (PET)

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-05-01

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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.
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