Bringing genetic specificity, enhanced contrast, resolution and color to pre-clinical MRI scans.
The development of imaging methodologies for single cell measurements over extended timescales of up to weeks, in the intact animal, will depend on signal strength, stability, validity and specificity of labeling. Whereas light-microscopy can achieve these with genetically-encoded probes or dyes, this modality does not allow mesoscale imaging of entire intact tissues. Non-invasive imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), outperform light microscopy in field of view and depth of imaging, but do not offer cellular resolution and specificity, suffer from low signal-to-noise ratio and, in some instances, low temporal resolution. In addition, the origins of the signals measured by MRI are either indirect to the process of interest or hard to validate. It is therefore highly warranted to find means to enhance MRI signals to allow increases in resolution and cellular-specificity. To this end, cell-selective bi-functional magneto-fluorescent contrast agents can provide an elegant solution. Fluorescence provides means for identification of labeled cells and particles location after MRI acquisition, and it can be used to facilitate the design of cell-selective labeling of defined targets.
- Specificity of cellular population
- Stronger signals (contrast, resolution)
- Potentially lower dosage of contrast agents
- The ability to image two or more cells types in the same session
- Longer longitudinal imaging
- Added fluorescent means for validation
Applications and Opportunities
- Research tools for preclinical assessments of brain