Table 1

Advantages and disadvantages of various stem-cell-labeling techniques

Labeling techniqueAdvantagesDisadvantages
Thymidine analogsEase of labelingUptake by surrounding cells
Decreased detection with cell division
Thiol/amine-reactive tracersEase of labelingVariable detection (depending on particular tracer) with cell division
Carbocyanine membrane dyesEase of labelingDecreased detection with cell division
NanocrystalsNon-invasive method used to detect cellular travel
Might be valuable for longer term detection
Decreased detection with cell division
Surrounding cells may take up nanocrystals
Vector transfection/nucleofectionNucleofection is a highly efficient way to transfer genetic materialTheoretical potential for tumor development Variable rate of transfer of genetic material, depending on the method
Might affect cellular properties or function
Might cause death of cells
Transgenic rodentsEasy to label and detect cellsVariable expression of the label
Potential loss of expression with cell division/differentiation
  • References: Harting et al., 2008; Swenson et al., 2007; Rosen et al., 2007.