Embryonic stem cell grafting in normal and infarcted myocardium: Serial assessment with MR imaging and PET dual detection

Hui Qiao, Hualei Zhang, Yuanjie Zheng, Datta E. Ponde, Dinggang Shen, Fabao Gao, Ashley B. Bakken, Alexander Schmitz, Hank F. Kung, Victor A. Ferrari, Rong Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To use magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and positron emission tomography (PET) dual detection of cardiacgrafted embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to examine (a) survival and proliferation of ESCs in normal and infarcted myocardium, (b) host macrophage versus grafted ESC contribution to serial MR imaging signal over time, and (c) cardiac function associated with the formation of grafts and whether improvement in cardiac function is related to cardiac differentiation of ESCs. Materials and Methods: All animal procedures were approved by the institutional animal care and use committee. Murine ESCs were stably transfected with a mutant version of herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase, HSV1-sr39tk, and also were labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) particles. Cells were injected directly in the border zone of the infarcted heart or in corresponding regions of normal hearts in athymic rats. PET and MR imaging were performed longitudinally for 4 weeks in the same animals. Results: ESCs survived and underwent proliferation in the infarcted and normal hearts, as demonstrated by serial increases in 9-(4-[ 18F]fluoro-3-hydroxymethylbutyl) guanine PET signals. In parallel, the hypointense areas on MR images at the injection sites decreased over time. Double staining for host macrophages and SPIO particles revealed that the majority of SPIO-containing cells were macrophages at week 4 after injection. Left ventricular ejection fraction increased in the ESC-treated rats but decreased in culture media-treated rats, and border-zone function was preserved in ESC-treated animals; however, cardiac differentiation of ESCs was less than 0.5%. Conclusion: Dual-modality imaging permits complementary information in regard to cell survival and proliferation, graft formation, and effects on cardiac function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-829
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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