Direct and Instantaneous Observation of Intravenously Injected Substances Using Intravital Confocal Micro-Videography

Biomed Opt Express. 2010 Oct 21;1(4):1209-1216. doi: 10.1364/BOE.1.001209.


We describe the development and application of intravital confocal micro-videography to visualize entrance, distribution, and clearance of drugs within various tissues and organs. We use a Nikon A1R confocal laser scanning microscope system attached to an upright ECLIPSE FN1. The Nikon A1R allows simultaneous four channel acquisition and speed of 30 frames per second while maintaining high resolution of 512 × 512 scanned points. The key techniques of our intravital imaging are (1) to present a flat and perpendicular surface to the objective lens, and (2) to expose the subject with little or no bleeding to facilitate optical access to multiple tissues and organs, and (3) to isolate the subject from the body movement without compressing the blood vessels, and (4) to insert a tail vein catheter for timed injection without moving the subject. Ear lobe dermis tissue was accessible without surgery. Liver, kidney, and subcutaneous tumor were accessed following exteriorization through skin incision. In order to image initial extravasations of compounds into tissue following intravenous injection, movie acquisition was initialized prior to drug administration. Our technique can serve as a powerful tool for investigating biological mechanisms and functions of intravenously injected drugs, with both spatial and temporal resolution.