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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2707082, 11 pages
Review Article

Potential Therapeutic Mechanisms and Tracking of Transplanted Stem Cells: Implications for Stroke Treatment

1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210009, China
2Key Laboratory of Developmental Genes and Human Disease, Institute of Life Sciences, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210096, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Honghong Yao

Received 6 May 2017; Revised 8 July 2017; Accepted 30 July 2017; Published 20 August 2017

Academic Editor: Yao Li

Copyright © 2017 Yanhong Zhang and Honghong Yao. 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 cell therapy is a promising potential therapeutic strategy to treat cerebral ischemia in preclinical and clinical trials. Currently proposed treatments for stroke employing stem cells include the replacement of lost neurons and integration into the existing host circuitry, the release of growth factors to support and promote endogenous repair processes, and the secretion of extracellular vesicles containing proteins, noncoding RNA, or DNA to regulate gene expression in recipient cells and achieve immunomodulation. Progress has been made to elucidate the precise mechanisms underlying stem cell therapy and the homing, migration, distribution, and differentiation of transplanted stem cells in vivo using various imaging modalities. Noninvasive and safe tracer agents with high sensitivity and image resolution must be combined with long-term monitoring using imaging technology to determine the optimal therapy for stroke in terms of administration route, dosage, and timing. This review discusses potential therapeutic mechanisms of stem cell transplantation for the treatment of stroke and the limitations of current therapies. Methods to label transplanted cells and existing imaging systems for stem cell labeling and in vivo tracking will also be discussed.