Magnetic resonance imaging of the migration of neuronal precursors generated in the adult rodent brain

Neuroimage. 2006 Sep;32(3):1150-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.04.219. Epub 2006 Jun 30.


Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) reside within the subventricular zone (SVZ) in rodents. These NPCs give rise to neural precursors in adults that migrate to the olfactory bulb (OB) along a well-defined pathway, the rostral migratory stream (RMS). Here we demonstrate that these NPCs can be labeled, in vivo, in adult rats with fluorescent, micron-sized iron oxide particles (MPIOs), and that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect migrating neural precursors carrying MPIOs along the RMS to the OB. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy indicated that particles were inside GFAP(+) neural progenitor cells in the SVZ, migrating PSA-NCAM(+) and Doublecortin(+) neural precursors within the RMS and OB, and Neu-N(+) mature neurons in the OB. This work demonstrates that in vivo cell labeling of progenitor cells for MRI is possible and enables the serial, non-invasive visualization of endogenous progenitor/precursor cell migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / cytology
  • Doublecortin Protein
  • Ferrocyanides
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stem Cells / physiology*


  • Dcx protein, rat
  • Doublecortin Protein
  • Ferrocyanides
  • ferric ferrocyanide