Stem cell therapies have great promise for treatment of many debilitating diseases and damaged tissues. Clinical
trials evaluating the safety of cell-based therapies are currently under way. Today's biomedical imaging technology allows
for real-time, noninvasive monitoring of grafted stem cells including their distribution, migration, survival and differentiation.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of nanoparticle-labeled cells being one of the most commonly used techniques.
In order to track cells by MRI, the cells need to be labeled with exogenous magnetic nanoparticles, resulting in
some unavoidable deficiencies restrict its wide clinical application. Metabolic profile takes an important role in understanding
and diagnosing the diseases, identify the cell and tissues types, valuating the treatment effect and prognosis. MR
spectroscopy (MRS) as an excellent tool is being most widely used to obtain the metabolic profile and biomarkers of cells
in non-invasively, therefore, it might become a new and powerful technology to monitor the transplanted stem cells. Recent
three years, some researches about the metabolic profiling and unique biomarker of the stem cells, such as neural
stem cell (NSC), mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), glioma-initiating cells(GIC) and embryonic stem cell (ECS) have been
reported, and demonstrated great application prospect. In this overview article, the objecitve is to review the current advances
with regard metabolic profiles of stem cells, methods for biomarkers extraction and acquisition, challenges and
developmental direction of stem cell MR spectroscopy (MRS) studies.
Stem cell, MR imaging, MR spectroscopy, metabolic profile, magnetic nanoparticle.
Department of Medical Imaging, the 2nd Affiliated Hospital, Medical College of Shantou University, Shantou 515041, Guangdong Province, China.