, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 544-553
Date: 09 Jan 2010

Intravital imaging of DSS-induced cecal mucosal damage in GFP-transgenic mice using two-photon microscopy

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Two-photon laser-scanning microscopy (TPLSM) is a powerful diagnostic tool for real-time, high-resolution structural imaging. However, obtaining high-quality in vivo TPLSM images of intra-abdominal organs remains technically challenging.

Materials and methods

An organ-stabilizing system was applied to high-quality TPLSM imaging. Real-time imaging of visceral organs, such as the liver, spleen, kidney and intestine, of transgenic green fluorescent protein (GFP) mice was performed in vivo using TPLSM. The bacterial translocation model using dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis was also investigated in prepared GFP mice following simple surgery. This allowed the capture of morphological real images using in vivo TPLSM. Immunohistochemical analysis of ZO-1 was performed to support the morphological findings of TPLSM.

Results and conclusions

We established an organ-stabilizing system to evaluate the real-time imaging of visceral organs in actin–GFP transgenic mice using in vivo TPLSM. DSS-induced colitis showed irregularity of crypt architecture, disappearance of crypts, inflammatory cell infiltration and increased rolling of white blood cells along the vasculature. In addition, the intercellular distance of mucosal cells in the crypt and vascular endothelial cells in the intestinal wall was increased in the intestinal mucosa during DSS colitis. In DSS colitis, there was remarkable loss of mucosal and vascular endothelial ZO-1 expression, as could be seen by a decrease in ZO-1 staining. In conclusion, our observations suggested the possibility that our TPLSM imaging system can be used to clarify the pathophysiological changes in various diseases using longitudinal studies of microscopic changes in the same animal over long periods of time.