Ferumoxytol: A new, clinically applicable label for stem-cell tracking in arthritic joints with MRI

Aman Khurana, Hossein Nejadnik, Fanny Chapelin, Olga Lenkov, Rakhee Gawande, Sungmin Lee, Sandeep N. Gupta, Nooshin Aflakian, Nikita Derugin, Solomon Messing, Guiting Lin, Tom F. Lue, Laura Pisani, Heike E. Daldrup-Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Aim: To develop a clinically applicable MRI technique for tracking stem cells in matrix-associated stem-cell implants, using the US FDA-approved iron supplement ferumoxytol. Materials & methods: Ferumoxytol-labeling of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) was optimized in vitro. A total of 11 rats with osteochondral defects of both femurs were implanted with ferumoxytol- or ferumoxides-labeled or unlabeled ADSCs, and underwent MRI up to 4 weeks post matrix-associated stem-cell implant. The signal-to-noise ratio of different matrix-associated stem-cell implant was compared with t-tests and correlated with histopathology. Results: An incubation concentration of 500 μg iron/ml ferumoxytol and 10 μg/ml protamine sulfate led to significant cellular iron uptake, T2 signal effects and unimpaired ADSC viability. In vivo, ferumoxytol- and ferumoxides-labeled ADSCs demonstrated significantly lower signal-to-noise ratio values compared with unlabeled controls (p < 0.01). Histopathology confirmed engraftment of labeled ADSCs, with slow dilution of the iron label over time. Conclusion: Ferumoxytol can be used for in vivo tracking of stem cells with MRI. Original submitted 28 February 2012; Revised submitted 8 November 201.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1969-1983
Number of pages15
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • MRI
  • iron oxide nanoparticle
  • matrix-associated stem-cell implant
  • osteoarthritis
  • stem-cell tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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