Chronic in vivo imaging in the mouse spinal cord using an implanted chamber

Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
Nature Methods (Impact Factor: 32.07). 01/2012; 9(3):297-302. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1856
Source: PubMed


Understanding and treatment of spinal cord pathology is limited in part by a lack of time-lapse in vivo imaging strategies at the cellular level. We developed a chronically implanted spinal chamber and surgical procedure suitable for time-lapse in vivo multiphoton microscopy of mouse spinal cord without the need for repeat surgical procedures. We routinely imaged mice repeatedly for more than 5 weeks postoperatively with up to ten separate imaging sessions and observed neither motor-function deficit nor neuropathology in the spinal cord as a result of chamber implantation. Using this chamber we quantified microglia and afferent axon dynamics after a laser-induced spinal cord lesion and observed massive microglia infiltration within 1 d along with a heterogeneous dieback of axon stumps. By enabling chronic imaging studies over timescales ranging from minutes to months, our method offers an ideal platform for understanding cellular dynamics in response to injury and therapeutic interventions.

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    • "The same procedure described above to expose the spinal cord was implemented to expose a much smaller region of the spinal cord composed of 1–2 vertebrae in the middle/lower thoracic region (the target level of the spinal cord was about at T10). Spinal implant was a custom-made modified (smaller) version of the one reported in Farrar, et al. [45]. Surgical implantation followed the same procedure reported in the paper by Farrar et al. "
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