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Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 5;8(1):444. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00482-y.

Cre/lox-assisted non-invasive in vivo tracking of specific cell populations by positron emission tomography.

Author information

1
Interfakultäres Institut für Biochemie, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
2
Department of Radiology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
3
Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, Werner Siemens Imaging Center, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
4
Physiologisches Institut I, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
5
Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology, University of Tübingen, and Comprehensive Cancer Center, University Hospital, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
6
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University Hospital, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
7
Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital, European Institute for Molecular Imaging & EXC 1003 Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence, University of Münster, 48149 Münster, Germany.
8
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
9
Interfakultäres Institut für Biochemie, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. robert.feil@uni-tuebingen.de.

Abstract

Many pathophysiological processes are associated with proliferation, migration or death of distinct cell populations. Monitoring specific cell types and their progeny in a non-invasive, longitudinal and quantitative manner is still challenging. Here we show a novel cell-tracking system that combines Cre/lox-assisted cell fate mapping with a thymidine kinase (sr39tk) reporter gene for cell detection by positron emission tomography (PET). We generate Rosa26-mT/sr39tk PET reporter mice and induce sr39tk expression in platelets, T lymphocytes or cardiomyocytes. As proof of concept, we demonstrate that our mouse model permits longitudinal PET imaging and quantification of T-cell homing during inflammation and cardiomyocyte viability after myocardial infarction. Moreover, Rosa26-mT/sr39tk mice are useful for whole-body characterization of transgenic Cre mice and to detect previously unknown Cre activity. We anticipate that the Cre-switchable PET reporter mice will be broadly applicable for non-invasive long-term tracking of selected cell populations in vivo.Non-invasive cell tracking is a powerful method to visualize cells in vivo under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Here Thunemann et al. generate a mouse model for in vivo tracking and quantification of specific cell types by combining a PET reporter gene with Cre-dependent activation that can be exploited for any cell population for which a Cre mouse line is available.

PMID:
28874662
PMCID:
PMC5585248
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-017-00482-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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