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Blood. 2004 May 1;103(9):3590-8. Epub 2004 Jan 8.

In vivo imaging of graft-versus-host-disease in mice.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Mayo Mail Code 366, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


We have developed a mouse system by which to track the migration and homing of cells in a setting of bone marrow transplantation (BMT)-induced graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after systemic infusion using enhanced green fluorescence protein (eGFP) transgenic (Tg) cells and a simple application of a fluorescence stereomicroscope outfitted with a color charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. Whole body images of anesthetized mice taken at various time points after cell infusion revealed the early migration of allogeneic cells to peripheral lymphoid organs, with later infiltration of GVHD target organs. Localization of eGFP Tg cells could be seen through the skin of shaved mice, and internal organs were easily discernible. After allogeneic or syngeneic eGFP Tg cell infusion, representative mice were dissected to better visualize deeper internal organs and tissues. Infusion of different cell populations revealed distinct homing patterns, and this method also provided a simple way to identify the critical time points for expansion of the transplanted cells in various organs. This simple application of the fluorescence stereomicroscope will be valuable for GVHD and graft-versus-tumor studies in which visualization of cellular migration, expansion, and cell-cell interactions will be more informative when analyzed by such an intravital method.

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