Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Medical Biophysics


Dr. Paula Foster

Second Advisor

Dr. Arthur Brown

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephen Karlik


In the last two decades, iron oxide nanoparticles have been widely used to label cells in vivo for MRI-based tracking of cellular infiltration and inflammation in disease and injury. The goal of this thesis was to investigate the potential for in vivo labeling of immune cells in healthy mice. Healthy mice were administered iron based contrast agents intravenously (i.v) and MRI was performed longitudinally to detect and monitor signal changes in the liver, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes. Histology and flow cytometry were used to verify the presence of iron within cells. We show that cells in the bone marrow and spleen take up iron particles after the i.v administration of either superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) or micron-sized iron oxide (MPIO) particles. This work sets the stage for future studies which aim to monitor the trafficking or recruitment of pre-labeled immune cells in models of inflammatory disease and immune disorders.



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