• in vivo bioluminescence imaging;
  • magnetic targeting system;
  • skeletal muscle injury;
  • muscle regeneration;
  • mesenchymal stem cells


The purpose of this study is to clarify the kinetics of transplanted mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in rat skeletal muscle injury model and the contribution of the magnetic cell delivery system to muscle injury repair. A magnetic field generator was used to apply an external magnetic force to the injury site of the tibia anterior muscle, and 1 × 106 MSCs labeled with ferucarbotran–protamine complexes, which were isolated from luciferase transgenic rats, were injected into the injury site. MSCs were injected with and without an external magnetic force (MSC M+ and MSC M− groups, respectively), and phosphate-buffered saline was injected into injury sites as a control. In vivo bioluminescence imaging was performed immediately after the transplantation and, at 12, 24, and 72 h, and 1 and 4 weeks post-transplantation. Also, muscle regeneration and function were histologically and electromechanically evaluated. In vivo bioluminescence imaging showed that the photon of the MSC M+ group was significantly higher than that of the MSC M− group throughout the observation period. In addition, muscle regeneration and function in the MSC M+ group was histologically and functionally better than that of the MSC M− group. The results of our study indicated that magnetic cell delivery system may be of use in directing the transplanted MSCs to the injury site to promote skeletal muscle regeneration. © 2012 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 31: 754–759, 2013