Herein, we maximize the labeling efficiency of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) using perfluorocarbon nanoparticles (PFCE-NP) and 19F MRI detectability, determine the temporal dynamics of single-cell label uptake, quantify the temporal viability/fluorescence persistence of labeled CPCs in vitro, and implement in vivo, murine cardiac CPC MRI/tracking that could be translatable to humans. FuGENEHD-mediated CPC PFCE-NP uptake is confirmed with flow cytometry/confocal microscopy. Epifluorescence imaging assessed temporal viability/fluorescence (up to 7 days [D]). Nonlocalized murine 19F MRS and cardiac MRI studied label localization in terminal/longitudinal tracking studies at 9.4 T (D1-D8). A 4-8 fold 19F concentration increase is evidenced in CPCs for FuGENE vs. directly labeled cells. Cardiac 19F signals post-CPC injections diminished in vivo to ~31% of their values on D1 by D7/D8. Histology confirmed CPC retention, dispersion, and macrophage-induced infiltration. Intra-cardiac injections of PFCE-NP-labeled CPCs with FuGENE can be visualized/tracked in vivo for the first time with 19F MRI.
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Cardiac stem cells, Fluorine MRI, Macrophages, Perfluorocarbon nanoparticles, Tracking