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Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2013 Feb;18(1):6-12. doi: 10.1097/MOT.0b013e32835c96c6.

New perspectives in transplantation through intravital microscopy imaging.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.



Rejection of transplanted organs is a complex and highly dynamic immune process. Two-photon laser-scanning intravital microscopy (LSIM) allows for real-time, deep tissue, high-resolution imaging in physiological conditions. The recent application of this technology to study organ rejection started to provide a clearer picture of the spatiotemporal immunological dynamics of organ rejection.


To date, LSIM has been applied to transplanted skin, islet, and kidney in mice, as well to constantly moving organs such as transplanted lung and heart. To characterize the dynamics of innate and adaptive immune cell infiltration, time-lapse imaging of various fluorescent-reporter mice was performed. Overall, these studies revealed differences between the anatomical location of infiltrating neutrophils and monocytes in various transplanted organs. In addition, the dynamics of lymphocytic infiltration revealed different transendothelial migration routes in vascularized versus nonvascularized transplanted tissues.


LSIM is a very powerful tool that can be used to carefully dissect the immune cells dynamics in rejection and in tolerance induction in transplantation. Many dynamic biological processes can only be investigated using LSIM. Thus, LSIM promises to greatly enhance our knowledge in transplantation immunobiology and will help tailoring specific therapeutics in relation to the transplanted tissue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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