In vivo real-time imaging of the liver with confocal endomicroscopy permits visualization of the temporospatial patterns of hepatocyte apoptosis.
ABSTRACT Apoptosis is a dynamic process of programmed cell death and is involved in multiple diseases. However, its mechanisms and sequence of events are still incompletely understood, partly because of the inability to visualize single cells continuously in vivo. The aim of the present study was to monitor hepatocyte apoptosis with confocal endomicroscopy in living rodents. In 73 anaesthetized mice, apoptotic liver injury was induced by injection of the CD95-agonistic antibody Jo2. Individual hepatocytes were followed for up to 240 min with a handheld confocal probe (FIVE1; Optiscan) providing 0.7 μm resolution (1,000-fold magnification). Different fluorescence staining protocols were used for cellular staining, vascular and cellular barrier function imaging, and caspase activation visualization. The time course of apoptosis could be visualized in vivo while liver perfusion and tissue integrity were maintained. In contrast to most ex vivo studies, initial cell swelling was observed that coincided with early defects in barrier function of sinusoids and hepatocytes. Cytoplasmic vesicle formation, nuclear condensation, cellular disintegration, and macrophage infiltration were captured sequentially. Labeling of caspases allowed molecular imaging. Our study allowed for the first time to continuously follow distinct morphological, functional, and molecular features of apoptosis in a solid organ in vivo and at high resolution. Intravital confocal microscopy may be a valuable tool to study the effects of therapeutic intervention on apoptosis in animal models and humans.
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ABSTRACT: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a therapeutic target for colorectal cancer (CRC). However, technical challenges have limited in vivo imaging of EGFR in CRCs. Confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) enables accurate microscopic visualization of CRC in patients during endoscopy. We evaluated the ability to use CLE in vivo for instantaneous molecular imaging of EGFR in CRC models. Tumors were grown in mice (n = 68) from human CRC cell lines that expressed high (SW480 cells) or low (SW620 cells) levels of EGFR. Tumors were visualized in vivo with a handheld CLE probe after injection of fluorescently labeled EGFR antibodies. EGFR-specific fluorescence was graded from 0 to 3+. Neoplastic and non-neoplastic specimens from human colorectal mucosa were examined. In vivo findings were correlated with histopathology, immunohistochemistry, and fluorescence microscopy analyses. CLE analysis of cell cultures confirmed the different expression levels of EGFR between cell lines. In living animals, CLE differentiated EGFR expression levels between tumor cell limes (mean fluorescence, 1.92 +/- 0.22 [SW480] and 0.59 +/- 0.21 [SW620], P = .0004). CLE analysis of EGFR expression in human specimens allowed distinction of neoplastic from non-neoplastic tissues (mean fluorescence, 2.0 +/- 0.37 vs 0.25 +/- 0.16, respectively, P = .0035). CLE can be used for in vivo, molecular analysis of CRC and to differentiate EGFR expression patterns in xenograft tumors and human tissue samples. Because CLE can be performed during endoscopy, in vivo molecular imaging might be used in diagnosis of CRC and to predict response to targeted therapies.Gastroenterology 10/2009; 138(2):435-46. · 12.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dynamic mechanical properties of cells are becoming recognized as indicators and regulators of physiological processes such as differentiation, malignant phenotypes and mitosis. A key process in development and homeostasis is apoptosis and whilst the molecular control over this pathway is well studied, little is known about the mechanical consequences of cell death. Here, we study the caspase-dependent mechanical kinetics of single cells during early apoptosis initiated with the general protein-kinase inhibitor staurosporine. This results in internal remodelling of the cytoskeleton and nucleus which is reflected in dynamic changes in the mechanical properties of the cell. Utilizing simultaneous confocal and atomic force microscopy (AFM), we measured distinct mechanical dynamics in the instantaneous cellular Young's Modulus and longer timescale viscous deformation. This allowed us to visualize time-dependent nuclear and cytoskeletal control of force dissipation with fluorescent fusion proteins throughout the cell. This work reveals that the cell death program not only orchestrates biochemical dynamics but also controls the mechanical breakdown of the cell. Importantly, the consequences of mechanical disregulation during apoptosis may be a contributing factor to several human pathologies through the poorly timed release of dead cells and cell debris.Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 08/2009; 66(7):409-22. · 4.19 Impact Factor