Tracking superparamagnetic iron oxide labeled monocytes in brain by high-field magnetic resonance imaging

Marina L. Zelivyanskaya, Jay A. Nelson, Larissa Poluektova, Mariano Uberti, Melissa Mellon, Howard E. Gendelman, Michael D. Boskal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Inflammatory cells, most notably mononuclear phagocytes (MP; macrophages and microglia), play a critical role in brain homeostasis, repair and disease. One important event in cellular biodynamics is how MP move in and throughout the nervous system. Prior studies have focused principally on cell migration across the blood-brain barrier during neuroinflammatory processes with little work done on cell movement within the brain. During the past decade our laboratories have studied the role of MP in HIV-1-associated dementia (HAD). In HAD MP incite sustained glial inflammatory reactions causing significant neuronal damage. To extend these works we investigated cell movement in brain and its influence for disease in a novel co-registration system integrating neuropathology with high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Human monocytes labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles were injected into the brain of severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. MRI was recorded 1, 7, and 14 days after cell injection. MRI core-gistered with histology verified that the MRI signal modification was due to the labeled cells. MRI showed human monocyte-derived macrophages along the injection site, the corpus callosum, the ventricular system and in other brain sites. These data support the idea that cell migration can be monitored in vivo and provides an opportunity to assess monocyte mobility in brain and its affects on neurodegenerative processes and notably HAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-295
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Feridex
  • HIV-1-associated dementia
  • Histology MRI co-registration
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Monocyte-derived macrophages
  • SCID mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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