Molecular and cellular MR imaging: potentials and challenges for neurological applications

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2008 May;27(5):941-54. doi: 10.1002/jmri.21280.


This review presents the state of the art of molecular MRI and its application to experimental neurology and neuroscience. We do not repeat a broad, comprehensive overview over the rapidly growing literature in the field of "molecular MRI," which is achieved by several recent reviews. Instead, we focus here on the potential of this imaging technique and its challenges to achieve useful new information in various fields of application with the aim of visualizing cellular processes in the brain, in both the physiological and pathophysiological context. Particular attention will be given to the visualization of cells grafted into the brain. For this goal, the recent most exciting studies are selected as the best examples to elucidate the method's fast expanding potentials. Attention is also given to the aspects of producing synergies by combining molecular MRI with other molecular imaging modalities, thus generating the most complex pictures of cellular and molecular events in the brain under in vivo conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Cell Transplantation*
  • Contrast Media
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Molecular Probes


  • Contrast Media
  • Molecular Probes