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Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 Jul;6(7):497-507.

Dynamic imaging of the immune system: progress, pitfalls and promise.

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  • 1Lymphocyte Biology Section, Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Both innate and adaptive immunity are dependent on the migratory capacity of myeloid and lymphoid cells. Effector cells of the innate immune system rapidly enter infected tissues, whereas sentinel dendritic cells in these sites mobilize and transit to lymph nodes. In these and other secondary lymphoid tissues, interactions among various cell types promote adaptive humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Recent advances in light microscopy have allowed direct visualization of these events in living animals and tissue explants, which allows a new appreciation of the dynamics of immune-cell behaviour. In this article, we review the basic techniques and the tools used for in situ imaging, as well as the limitations and potential artefacts of these methods.

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