Bradley D. Hann1, Kevin M. Bennett1
1School of Biological &
Health Systems Engineering,
A technique to noninvasively detect the macromolecular structure in hydrogels could be used to monitor cell viability and migration in vivo, and thus the efficacy of hydrogel-based cell therapies. Here we develop a technique to track structural changes in a biocompatible hyaluronic acid hydrogel doped with functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles. Changes in particle aggregation state can modulate T2. We measured T2 changes over time in vitro consistent with cellular rearrangement of the matrix and demonstrated that this technique can be used to detect cell proliferation in the hydrogel. We further report that these hydrogels can be visualized in vivo.