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Table 4 Comparison of characteristics of imaging modalities available for intrahepatic stem cell tracing

From: Noninvasive in-vivo tracing and imaging of transplanted stem cells for liver regeneration

Imaging technique Probes Imaging methods Sensitivity Spatial resolution Temporal resolution Penetration depth Quantitative degree Cost
Fluorescence imaging Fluorophores, QDs, GFP/RFP Direct labeling/reporter genes +++ + ++ + +to++ $
Bioluminescence imaging Luciferin Reporter genes +++ + ++ + +to++ $
MRI SPIO, gadolinium Direct labeling + +++ + +++ ++  
SPECT 111In, 99mTc, 131I Direct labeling/reporter genes ++ ++ + +++ ++ $$
PET 18F, 124I Direct labeling/reporter genes ++ ++ + +++ +++ $$$
  1. + common, ++ good, +++ excellent; $ cheap, $$ expensive, $$$ very expensive
  2. QD quantum dot, GFP green fluorescent protein, RFP red fluorescent protein, MRI magnetic resonance imaging, SPIO superparamagnetic iron oxides, SPECT single photon emission computed tomography PET positron emission tomography