Stem cells are the foundational cells for every organ and tissue in our body. Cell-based therapeutics using stem cells in regenerative medicine have received attracting attention as a possible treatment for various diseases caused by congenital defects. Stem cells such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as well as embryonic stem cells (ESCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and neuroprogenitors stem cells (NSCs) have recently been studied in various ways as a cell-based therapeutic agent. When various stem cells are transplanted into a living body, they can differentiate and perform complex functions. For stem cell transplantation, it is essential to determine the suitability of the stem cell-based treatment by evaluating the origin of stem, the route of administration, in vivo bio-distribution, transplanted cell survival, function, and mobility. Currently, these various stem cells are being imaged in vivo through various molecular imaging methods. Various imaging modalities such as optical imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US), positron emission tomography (PET), and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have been introduced for the application of various stem cell imaging. In this review, we discuss the principles and recent advances of in vivo molecular imaging for application of stem cell research.
Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging; Optical imaging; Positron emission tomography; Single-photon emission computed tomography; Stem cells; in vivo molecular imaging.