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World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jan 14;13(2):192-218.

Advances in small animal mesentery models for in vivo flow cytometry, dynamic microscopy, and drug screening.

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  • 1Philips Classic Laser Laboratories, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72205-7199, United States.


Using animal mesentery with intravital optical microscopy is a well-established experimental model for studying blood and lymph microcirculation in vivo. Recent advances in cell biology and optical techniques provide the basis for extending this model for new applications, which should generate significantly improved experimental data. This review summarizes the achievements in this specific area, including in vivo label-free blood and lymph photothermal flow cytometry, super-sensitive fluorescence image cytometry, light scattering and speckle flow cytometry, microvessel dynamic microscopy, infrared (IR) angiography, and high-speed imaging of individual cells in fast flow. The capabilities of these techniques, using the rat mesentery model, were demonstrated in various studies; e.g., real-time quantitative detection of circulating and migrating individual blood and cancer cells, studies on vascular dynamics with a focus on lymphatics under normal conditions and under different interventions (e.g. lasers, drugs, nicotine), assessment of lymphatic disturbances from experimental lymphedema, monitoring cell traffic between blood and lymph systems, and high-speed imaging of cell transient deformability in flow. In particular, the obtained results demonstrated that individual cell transportation in living organisms depends on cell type (e.g., normal blood or leukemic cells), the cellos functional state (e.g., live, apoptotic, or necrotic), and the functional status of the organism. Possible future applications, including in vivo early diagnosis and prevention of disease, monitoring immune response and apoptosis, chemo- and radio-sensitivity tests, and drug screening, are also discussed.

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