BackgroundA magnetic cell targeting system was previously developed to promote the accumulation of transplanted cells in sites of injury in order to effectively treat injured tissues. However, the optimum time of exposure to the magnetic field and the strength of the magnetic force have not yet been clarified. In this study, we investigated the optimum conditions of the magnetic force required to retain iron-labeled human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) at the site of transplantation for muscle repair in a subchronic skeletal muscle injury nude rat model.MethodsFirst, the optimum strength and time of exposure to the magnetic force for cell retention at the transplantation site were investigated 2 days after cell transplantation (1 × 105 cells). Second, the degree of enhancement of muscle repair was investigated at 3 weeks after cell transplantation in the group treated without a magnetic force and two typical magnetic condition groups that exhibited different levels of cell integration in first part of the study.ResultsOn the basis of the results of the first investigation, it was concluded that a magnetic strength of 1.5 T and 10 min of exposure to the magnetic force were efficient conditions to induce the retention of transplanted cells at the site of transplantation. In the second study, the groups exposed to a 1.5-T magnetic field for 10 min demonstrated significant enhancement of muscle repair, both histologically and electromechanically.ConclusionsThis study identified the optimal conditions required to retain transplanted hMSCs at the site of transplantation using a magnetic targeting system. This study also showed that the restoration of subchronic muscle injuries can be enhanced by magnetically labeled hMSCs following the application of a magnetic force.