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Nat Protoc. 2008;3(8):1278-86. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2008.118.

Noninvasive high-resolution in vivo imaging of cell biology in the anterior chamber of the mouse eye.

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The Rolf Luft Research Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital L1, SE-17176 Stockholm, Sweden.


There is clearly a demand for an experimental platform that enables cell biology to be studied in intact vascularized and innervated tissue in vivo. This platform should allow observations of cells noninvasively and longitudinally at single-cell resolution. For this purpose, we use the anterior chamber of the mouse eye in combination with laser scanning microscopy (LSM). Tissue transplanted to the anterior chamber of the eye is rapidly vascularized, innervated and regains function. After transplantation, LSM through the cornea allows repetitive and noninvasive in vivo imaging at cellular resolution. Morphology, vascularization, cell function and cell survival are monitored longitudinally using fluorescent proteins and dyes. We have used this system to study pancreatic islets, but the platform can easily be adapted for studying a variety of tissues and additional biological parameters. Transplantation to the anterior chamber of the eye takes 25 min, and in vivo imaging 1-5 h, depending on the features monitored.

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