Therapeutic delivery of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes (iCMs) represents a novel clinical approach to regenerate the injured myocardium. However, methods for robust and accurate in vivo monitoring of the iCMs are still lacking. Although superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs) are recognized as a promising tool for in vivo tracking of stem cells using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), their signal persists in the heart even weeks after the disappearance of the injected cells. This limitation highlights the inability of SPIOs to distinguish stem cell viability. In order to overcome this shortcoming, we demonstrate the use of a living contrast agent, magneto-endosymbionts (MEs) derived from magnetotactic bacteria for the labeling of iCMs. The ME-labeled iCMs were injected into the infarcted area of murine heart and probed by MRI and bioluminescence imaging (BLI). Our findings demonstrate that the MEs are robust and effective biological contrast agents to track iCMs in an in vivo murine model. We show that the MEs clear within one week of cell death whereas the SPIOs remain over 2 weeks after cell death. These findings will accelerate the clinical translation of in vivo MRI monitoring of transplanted stem cell at high spatial resolution and sensitivity.
View details for DOI 10.1038/srep26960
View details for PubMedID 27264636
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4893600