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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 231805, 9 pages
Review Article

Tracking Transplanted Stem Cells Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the Nanoparticle Labeling Method in Urology

1Department of Urology, Soonchunhyang University Hospital, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2Biomedical Research Institute, Chung-Ang School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Received 4 September 2014; Revised 10 March 2015; Accepted 17 March 2015

Academic Editor: Zhengchao Dong

Copyright © 2015 Jae Heon Kim 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.


A reliable in vivo imaging method to localize transplanted cells and monitor their viability would enable a systematic investigation of cell therapy. Most stem cell transplantation studies have used immunohistological staining, which does not provide information about the migration of transplanted cells in vivo in the same host. Molecular imaging visualizes targeted cells in a living host, which enables determining the biological processes occurring in transplanted stem cells. Molecular imaging with labeled nanoparticles provides the opportunity to monitor transplanted cells noninvasively without sacrifice and to repeatedly evaluate them. Among several molecular imaging techniques, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides high resolution and sensitivity of transplanted cells. MRI is a powerful noninvasive imaging modality with excellent image resolution for studying cellular dynamics. Several types of nanoparticles including superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and magnetic nanoparticles have been used to magnetically label stem cells and monitor viability by MRI in the urologic field. This review focuses on the current role and limitations of MRI with labeled nanoparticles for tracking transplanted stem cells in urology.