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Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Nov;2(11):872-80.

Two-photon tissue imaging: seeing the immune system in a fresh light.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of California, Irvine, California 92697-4561, USA.


Many lymphocyte functions, such as antigen recognition, take place deep in densely populated lymphoid organs. Because direct in vivo observation was not possible, the dynamics of immune-cell interactions have been inferred or extrapolated from in vitro studies. Two-photon fluorescence excitation uses extremely brief (<1 picosecond) and intense pulses of light to 'see' directly into living tissues, to a greater depth and with less phototoxicity than conventional imaging methods. Two-photon microscopy, in combination with newly developed indicator molecules, promises to extend single-cell approaches to the in vivo setting and to reveal in detail the cellular collaborations that underlie the immune response.

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