In vivo magnetic resonance imaging of immune cells in the central nervous system with superparamagnetic antibodies.

Istvan Pirko, Aaron Johnson, Bogoljub Ciric, Jeff Gamez, Slobodan I. Macura, Larry R. Pease, Moses Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations


We developed a novel MRI technique to image immune cell location and homing in vivo to the central nervous system (CNS). Superparamagnetic antibodies specific for cell surface markers allowed imaging of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and Mac1+ cells in the CNS of mice infected with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) and in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Superparamagnetic antibodies have excellent T2, T2*, and good T1 relaxation properties, which makes them ideal MRI contrast materials. Immunohistochemistry of corresponding sections confirmed the specificity of the technique to detect immune cell types in the CNS. This powerful technique has potential to image any cell with unique surface antigens. Because superparamagnetic antibodies similar to those used in the study are approved for human use, the in vivo MRI technique we have described could be developed for human use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-182
Number of pages4
JournalThe FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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