High-resolution imaging of bone precursor cells within the intact bone marrow cavity of living mice

Philipp Mayer-Kuckuk, Terence P.F. Gade, Ian M. Buchanan, Mikhail Doubrovin, Ludmilla Ageyeva, Joseph R. Bertino, Adele L. Boskey, Ronald G. Blasberg, Jason A. Koutcher, Debabrata Banerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Bone precursor cells (BPCs) play a critical role in bone maintenance and regeneration. Currently, no tool exists to study BPCs or other bone marrow cell types directly within their complex microenvironment. Here, we describe in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of anatomical structures inside the medullary cavity of the mouse femur. We demonstrate that BPCs passively labeled with iron oxide-containing particles can be monitored by MRI within the intact bone marrow at an in-plane resolution of 43 × 25 μm. Anatomical detail provided by MRI is complemented by functional optical imaging of reporter gene expression. Single-cell dual iron oxide-reporter gene labeling has potential for combined cell tracking and cell biology studies. In summary, we describe a versatile platform suitable for studying the biology of many bone marrow cell types in living bone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


  • Bioluminescence imaging
  • Bone precursor cell
  • Cell tracking
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Marrow stromal cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Molecular imaging
  • Reporter gene


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