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Cellular magnetic resonance imaging: in vivo tracking of gastric cancer cells and detecting of lymph node metastases using microparticles of iron oxide in mice

Authors Chen J, Ren G, Cai R, Wu X, Gui T, Zhao J, Li H, Guo C

Received 20 February 2019

Accepted for publication 2 July 2019

Published 2 August 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 7317—7326


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo

Jian Chen,*,1,2 Gang Ren,1 Rong Cai,3 Xiangru Wu,*,4 Ting Gui,1 Jianxi Zhao,1 Huali Li,1 Chen Guo1

1Department of Radiology, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200092, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Radiology, Children’s Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai 201102, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Radiotherapy, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Pathology, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200092, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Monitoring the fate of implanted cells over time in an experimental animal may provide a new way to track the metastatic process. Lymph node metastase is of extremely importance for the prognostic prediction of gastric carcinoma. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), using micron-sized superparamagnetic iron oxide particles (MPIO), for monitoring of the fate of gastric cancer cells and detecting the migration of gastric cancer cells through the lymphatic system in a mouse model.
Methods: SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells were labeled with green fluorescent MPIO. The cells were monitored in vitro at multiple time points by staining for iron-labeled cells and by flow cytometric detection of the fluorescent MPIO. MPIO-labeled cells were implanted subcutaneously into nude mice, and cellular MRI was performed at different time points until 35 days postinjection.
Results: The potential for retention of the iron particles in vitro was evaluated. Our results showed that the labeling and uptake efficiency of MPIO reached 90.0% after 24 hrs of incubation, and a small percentage of cells that retained MPIO could be examined until 16 days after labeling. In vivo MRI-based tracking over several weeks in mice revealed regions of signal loss in the primary tumors for up to 5 weeks. Furthermore, small regions of signal void were detected in images of the inguinal lymph nodes in three mice at day 28 postinjection or later, and histological assays confirmed the presence of iron-labeled cancer cells.
Conclusion: This study supports MPIO-based cell tracking is a useful tool for monitoring the fate of gastric cancer cells in mice over time, which may facilitate progress in understanding the mechanisms of early regional lymph node micrometastases.

Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic iron oxide particles, lymph node metastasis, gastric cancer

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