Dual-modality in vivo monitoring of subventricular zone stem cell migration and metabolism
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Rat subventricular zone (SVZ) stem cells were labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles (SPIO) to follow their fate and migratory potential with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Labeled cells were transplanted into either the right rostral migratory stream (RMS) or striatum of normal adult Sprague-Dawley rats and serially followed for 3 months. Minimal migration of the cells implanted into the striatum was observed after 3 weeks whereas SVZ cells implanted into the RMS migrated toward the olfactory bulb at 1 week post-transplantation. PET studies of glucose metabolism using (18)F-FDG demonstrated enhanced glucose utilization in the striatum of transplanted animals. PET studies conducted 3 months after transplantation showed elevated accumulation of (11)C-raclopride (dopamine receptor type 2) and (11)C-CFT (dopamine transporter) binding in the striatal grafts. Implanted SVZ cells did not induce significant inflammation as identified by PET using (11)C-PK11195, a ligand detecting activated microglia. Histological analysis identified viable SPIO-labeled cells (some of which were nestin-positive) 7 weeks post-transplantation, suggesting a prolonged presence of undifferentiated neural stem cells within transplants. In addition, double immunostaining for neuronal and astrocytic markers (NeuN and GFAP) indicated that differentiation into neuronal and astrocytic phenotypes also occurred. Thus, combining MRI and PET enables monitoring of cell migration and metabolism non-invasively in vivo for extended periods of time.