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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 1207190, 13 pages
Research Article

Longitudinal Cell Tracking and Simultaneous Monitoring of Tissue Regeneration after Cell Treatment of Natural Tendon Disease by Low-Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging

1Large Animal Clinic for Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Leipzig, An den Tierkliniken 21, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
2Translational Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Leipzig, Philipp-Rosenthal-Straße 55, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
3Institute of Veterinary Physiology, University of Leipzig, An den Tierkliniken 7, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

Received 24 July 2015; Revised 24 September 2015; Accepted 20 October 2015

Academic Editor: Phillip C. Yang

Copyright © 2016 Dagmar Berner 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.


Treatment of tendon disease with multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) is a promising option to improve tissue regeneration. To elucidate the mechanisms by which MSC support regeneration, longitudinal tracking of MSC labelled with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could provide important insight. Nine equine patients suffering from tendon disease were treated with SPIO-labelled or nonlabelled allogeneic umbilical cord-derived MSC by local injection. Labelling of MSC was confirmed by microscopy and MRI. All animals were subjected to clinical, ultrasonographical, and low-field MRI examinations before and directly after MSC application as well as 2, 4, and 8 weeks after MSC application. Hypointense artefacts with characteristically low signal intensity were identified at the site of injection of SPIO-MSC in T1- and -weighted gradient echo MRI sequences. They were visible in all 7 cases treated with SPIO-MSC directly after injection, but not in the control cases treated with nonlabelled MSC. Furthermore, hypointense artefacts remained traceable within the damaged tendon tissue during the whole follow-up period in 5 out of 7 cases. Tendon healing could be monitored at the same time. Clinical and ultrasonographical findings as well as T2-weighted MRI series indicated a gradual improvement of tendon function and structure.