Stem cell transplantation has been investigated to rescue experimental liver failure and is promising to offer an alternative therapy to liver transplantation for liver diseases treatment. Several clinical studies in this field have been carried out, but the therapeutic benefit of this treatment is still controversial. A major obstacle to developing stem cell therapies in clinic is being able to visualize the cells in vivo. Imaging modalities allow optimization of delivery, detecting cell survival and functionality by in vivo monitoring these transplanted graft cells. Moreover, theranostic imaging is a brand new field that utilizes nanometer-scale materials to glean diagnostic insight for simultaneous treatment, which is very promising to improve stem cell-based therapy for treatment of liver diseases. The aim of this review was to summarize the various imaging tools that have been explored with advanced molecular imaging probes. We also outline some recent progress of preclinical and clinical studies of liver stem cells transplantation. Finally, we discuss theranostic imaging for stem cells transplantation for liver dysfunction and future opportunities afforded by theranostic imaging.
- Journal Article