In vivo tracking of neural progenitor cell migration to glioblastomas

Yi Tang, Khalid Shah, Shanta M. Messerli, Evan Snyder, Xandra Breakefield, Ralph Weissleder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


The ability to noninvasively track the migration, engraftment, and proliferation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) has significant clinical and research implications. The purpose of our study was to explore the macroscopic migratory capabilities of NPCs toward brain tumors after implantation into nude mice. We stably transfected C17.2 NPCs with the firefly luciferase gene (F-luc) and implanted cells into (1) the contralateral brain parenchyma (2 × 106 cells), (2) the ventricles (2 × 106 cells), (3) the vasculature (1 × 105 cells), or (4) the intraperitoneal cavity (5 × 106 cells) of mice bearing intracranial gliomas (Gli36). Using serial bioluminescence imaging, migration of parenchymally injected cells was observed across the corpus callosum, first detected at 1 week, with maximal density at the tumor site 2-3 weeks after implantation. Similar patterns were also observed with intraventricular injections; however, tumors were populated earlier, presumably because of the shorter distance to travel. Intravenous injections resulted in more modest tumoral NPC populations, whereas virtually no cells could be identified in tumors after intraperitoneal injection. These results confirm the migratory capability of NPCs over considerable distances and their preferential accumulation in brain tumors on CNS rather than peripheral injection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1254
Number of pages8
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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