Noninvasive evaluation of immunosuppressive drug efficacy on acute donor cell survival

Olivier Gheysens, Shuan Lin, Feng Cao, Dongxu Wang, Ian Y. Chen, Martin Rodriguez-Porcel, Jung J. Min, Sanjiv S. Gambhir, Joseph C. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: The therapeutic benefits of cell transplantation may depend on the survival of sufficient numbers of grafted cells. We evaluate four potent immunosuppressive medications aimed at preventing acute donor cell death. Procedures and Results: Embryonic rat H9c2 myoblasts were stably transduced to express firefly luciferase reporter gene (H9c2-Fluc). H9c2-Fluc cells (3 × 106) were injected into thigh muscles of Sprague-Dawley rats (N = 30) treated with cyclosporine, dexamethasone, mycophenolate mofetil, tacrolimus, or saline from day -3 to day +14. Longitudinal optical bioluminescence imaging was performed over two weeks. Fluc activity was 40.0 ± 12.1% (dexamethasone), 30.5 ± 12.5% (tacrolimus), and 21.5 ± 3.5% (mycophenolate) vs. 12.0 ± 5.0% (control) and 8.3 ± 5.0% (cyclosporine) at day 4 (P < 0.05). However, by day 14, cell signals had decreased drastically to <10% for all groups despite drug therapy. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the ability of optical molecular imaging for tracking cell survival noninvasively and raises important questions with regard to the overall efficacy of immunosuppressives for prolonging transplanted cell survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Cell transplant
  • Cyclosporine
  • Molecular imaging
  • Mycophenolate
  • Tacrolimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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