Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 476 Views Oct 5, 2023

Tracking macrophages by non-invasive molecular imaging can provide useful insights into the immunobiology of inflammatory disorders in preclinical disease models. Perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions (PFC-NEs) have been well documented in their ability to be taken up by macrophages through phagocytosis and serve as 19F magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tracers of inflammation in vivo and ex vivo. Incorporation of near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) dyes in PFC-NEs can help monitor the spatiotemporal distribution of macrophages in vivo during inflammatory processes, using NIRF imaging as a complementary methodology to MRI. Here, we discuss in depth how both colloidal and fluorescence stabilities of the PFC-NEs are essential for successful and reliable macrophage tracking in vivo and for their detection in excised tissues ex vivo by NIRF imaging. Furthermore, PFC-NE quality assures NIRF imaging reproducibility and reliability across preclinical studies, providing insights into inflammation progression and therapeutic response. Previous studies focused on assessments of colloidal property changes in response to stress and during storage as a means of quality control. We recently focused on the joint evaluation of both colloidal and fluorescence properties and their relationship to NIRF imaging outcomes. In this protocol, we summarize the key assessments of the fluorescent dye–labeled nanoemulsions, which include long-term particle size distribution monitoring as the measure of colloidal stability and monitoring of the fluorescence signal. Due to its simplicity and reproducibility, our protocols are easy to adopt for researchers to assess the quality of PFC-NEs for in vivo NIRF imaging applications.

0 Q&A 2810 Views Nov 20, 2021

Translational work in rodents elucidates basic mechanisms that drive complex behaviors relevant to psychiatric and neurological conditions. Nonetheless, numerous promising studies in rodents later fail in clinical trials, highlighting the need for improving the translational utility of preclinical studies in rodents. Imaging of small rodents provides an important strategy to address this challenge, as it enables a whole-brain unbiased search for structural and dynamic changes that can be directly compared to human imaging. The functional significance of structural changes identified using imaging can then be further investigated using molecular and genetic tools available for the mouse. Here, we describe a pipeline for unbiased search and characterization of structural changes and network properties, based on diffusion MRI data covering the entire mouse brain at an isotropic resolution of 100 µm. We first used unbiased whole-brain voxel-based analyses to identify volumetric and microstructural alterations in the brain of adult mice exposed to unpredictable postnatal stress (UPS), which is a mouse model of complex early life stress (ELS). Brain regions showing structural abnormalities were used as nodes to generate a grid for assessing structural connectivity and network properties based on graph theory. The technique described here can be broadly applied to understand brain connectivity in other mouse models of human disorders, as well as in genetically modified mouse strains.

Graphic abstract:

Pipeline for characterizing structural connectome in the mouse brain using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. Scale bar = 1 mm.

1 Q&A 5028 Views Jul 5, 2020
In drug development programmes, multiple assays are needed for the determination of protein-compound interactions and evaluation of potential use in assays with protein-protein interactions. In this protocol we describe the waterLOGSY NMR method for confirming protein-ligand binding events.
2 Q&A 10475 Views Apr 20, 2018
In this protocol, we describe a method to visualize and map dural lymphatic vessels in-vivo using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ex-vivo using histopathological techniques. While MRI protocols for routine imaging of meningeal lymphatics include contrast-enhanced T2-FLAIR and T1-weighted black-blood imaging, a more specific 3D mapping of the lymphatic system can be obtained by administering two distinct gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents on different days (gadofosveset and gadobutrol) and subsequently processing images acquired before and after administration of each type of contrast. In addition, we introduce methods for optimal immunostaining of lymphatic and blood vessel markers in human dura mater ex-vivo.

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