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Abstract #3138

Development of New, More Sensitive MR-Reporter Genes for Stem Cell Tracking and Gene Therapy Imaging

Letterio Salvatore Politi1, Sara Pizzi1, Anna Cozzi2, Mario Amendola3, Andrea Falini1, Luigi Naldini3, Sonia Levi2, Alessandra Biffi3, Giuseppe Scotti1

1Neuroradiology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy; 2Iron Metabolism Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy; 3HSR-TIGET, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy

MR-reporter genes might allow sustained and stable intracellular contrast accumulation for long-term stem cell (SC) tracking studies and gene therapy applications. Since sensitivity of previously described MR-reporter genes, such as intracellular ferritin, is low, we are exploiting potentially stronger reporters in combination with late generation lentivirial vectors. A new mutated form of human ferritin L-chain (mhL-Fer) that aggregates and stores great iron quantities was tested and compared to wild type H and L human ferritin chains and human tyrosinase. The mhL-Fer turned out to be the strongest reporter gene and allowed sustained and sensitive detection of SC also at 3T.