In vivo optical imaging of acute myeloid leukemia by green fluorescent protein: time-domain autofluorescence decoupling, fluorophore quantification, and localization

Mol Imaging. May-Jun 2007;6(3):193-204.


Human xenografts of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice result in disease states of diffuse, nonpalpable tissue infiltrates exhibiting a variable disease course, with some animals not developing a disease phenotype. Thus, disease staging and, more critically, quantification of preclinical therapeutic effect in these models are particularly difficult. In this study, we present the generation of a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled human leukemic cell line, NB4, and validate the potential of a time-domain imager fitted with a 470 nm picosecond pulsed laser diode to decouple GFP fluorescence from autofluorescence on the basis of fluorescence lifetime and thus determine the depth and relative concentration of GFP inclusions in phantoms of homogeneous and heterogeneous optical properties. Subsequently, we developed an optical imageable human xenograft model of NB4-GFP AML and illustrate early disease detection, depth discrimination of leukemic infiltrates, and longitudinal monitoring of disease course employing time-domain optical imaging. We conclude that early disease detection through use of time-domain imaging in this initially slowly progressing AML xenograft model permits accurate disease staging and should aid in future preclinical development of therapeutics for AML.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / pathology
  • Mice*
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Optics and Photonics / instrumentation
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Whole Body Imaging / instrumentation
  • Whole Body Imaging / methods*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins