THE lack of any markers for oligodendrocyte precursors that can be visualized within the intact CNS is a significant barrier to trials of transplantation of these cells which aim to enhance remyelination in multiple sclerosis. We have therefore asked whether dextran-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) can be used to label cells prior to transplantation and then visualized within the brain using MRI. We have shown that an oligodendrocyte precursor cell line CG-4 will take up dextran-coated SPIO particles in vitro. The label remains within the cells after transplantation into adult rat brain, as assessed by electron microscopy, and is visible by MRI as a reduction in signal intensity at the transplant site at both 1 and 7 days after surgery. We conclude that MRI detection of SPIO-labelled cells represents a promising and novel approach to the analysis of oligodendroglial cell behaviour following transplantation that has very significant advantages over currently available methods.
- Magnetic resonance imaging