Visualization of mucosal homeostasis via single- and multiphoton intravital fluorescence microscopy
Xu C., Shen Y., Littman DR., Dustin ML., Velázquez P.
Abstract Intact vascular perfusion done while intravitally visualizing the intestine: mucosal DCs and T cells display activity similar to that found in secondary lymphoid organs. FIVM has provided many insights into the regulation of immunity. We report the validation of an approach for visualizing murine small bowel via single- and multiphoton FIVM. Tissue damage is limited to ∼200 μm, immediately adjacent to the incision, as confirmed by intravital PI staining. Treatment with 10 KDa dextran-FITC and 70 KDa dextran-TR confirms that perfusion is intact. Selective filtration of 10 KDa but not 70 KDa dextran from the blood indicated that kidney function is also intact. Interestingly, lamina propria vasculature is semipermeable to 10 KDa dextran. Next, reporter mice expressing egfp from the CX3CR1 locus, egfp from the FoxP3 locus, or RFP from the IL-17F locus were used to track DC subsets, FoxP3+ Tregs, or Th17f cells, respectively. Resident cx3cr1+/egfp cells were sessile but actively probed the surrounding microenvironment. Both T cell populations patrol the lamina propria, but the Th17f cells migrate more rapidly than Tregs. Together, these data demonstrate intact vascular perfusion, while intravitally visualizing the mucosal surface of the small bowel. Lastly, the cx3cr1+ DCs and T cells display activity similar to that found in steady-state, secondary lymphoid organs.