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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 849819, 16 pages
Review Article

Multimodality Molecular Imaging of Stem Cells Therapy for Stroke

Fangfang Chao,1,2,3,4 Yehua Shen,1,2,3,4 Hong Zhang,1,2,3,4 and Mei Tian1,2,3,4

1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, 88 Jiefang Road, Hangzhou, 310009 Zhejiang, China
2Zhejiang University Medical PET Center, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
3Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
4Key Laboratory of Medical Molecular Imaging of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, China

Received 20 April 2013; Accepted 21 August 2013

Academic Editor: Ignasi Carrio

Copyright © 2013 Fangfang Chao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Stem cells have been proposed as a promising therapy for treating stroke. While several studies have demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of stem cells, the exact mechanism remains elusive. Molecular imaging provides the possibility of the visual representation of biological processes at the cellular and molecular level. In order to facilitate research efforts to understand the stem cells therapeutic mechanisms, we need to further develop means of monitoring these cells noninvasively, longitudinally and repeatedly. Because of tissue depth and the blood-brain barrier (BBB), in vivo imaging of stem cells therapy for stroke has unique challenges. In this review, we describe existing methods of tracking transplanted stem cells in vivo, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine imaging, and optical imaging (OI). Each of the imaging techniques has advantages and drawbacks. Finally, we describe multimodality imaging strategies as a more comprehensive and potential method to monitor transplanted stem cells for stroke.