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Methods Mol Biol. 2009;574:125-35. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-321-3_11.

Real-time bioluminescence imaging of viral pathogenesis.

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Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Mouse models are used commonly to study viral infection and define viral and host determinants of infection and disease morbidity. Conventional studies of viral infection in mice rely upon euthanizing cohorts of animals at multiple time points to identify sites of infection, quantify viral titers, and determine host immune responses. This experimental paradigm precludes longitudinal studies of infection and response to treatment in the same animal and assumes that progression of infection and pharmacodynamics of therapeutic agents are identical in all mice. To enable repetitive, quantitative studies of viral infection in mouse models, we and others are using noninvasive bioluminescence imaging to track viral infection, dissemination, and effects of host immune mediators on disease. In this chapter, we detail experimental protocols for bioluminescence imaging of viral infections in living mice.

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