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MRI Can Monitor Transplanted Islets

transplanted islets that had been marked with experimental iron-containing nanoparticles. The current study utilized islets labeled with Feridex, an FDA-approved contrast agent, and procedures virtually identical to the Edmonton protocol, in which islets are infused into the recipient's liver. Labeled islets were transplanted into mice with a normal immune system and into mice with a severe genetic immune deficiency that would practically eliminate the rejection process. MR images of the animals' livers were taken seven times over the 14 days after the transplant procedure.

The results verified that that MRI could track the labeled islets over time and reveal how many were surviving. For both groups of mice, the number of islets began to drop immediately after transplantation and reached a plateau at 10 to 14 days. The researchers note that much of the early islet death probably was caused by factors other than rejection, such as damage during the transplant procedure. However, by day 10 the mice with normal immune systems showed a 20 percent greater loss of islets than did the immune-deficient animals – probably the result of rejection – and close examination verified significant immune cell activity in the normal mice.

"Since MRI can provide comprehensive information about the presence and position within the body of entities as small as islets and can be performed repeatedly without subjecting patients to radiation or any invasive procedure, we think it is the most appropriate imaging modality to monitor islet survival," says Moore. "Feridex is an approved imaging agent, so the next logical step could be human clinical trials, although it may be helpful to work on improving the imaging procedures with larger animals first." Moore is an assistant professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Molecular Imaging Laboratory at the Martinos Center.

Source-Eurekalert
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