Application of Bioluminescence Imaging for in Vivo Monitoring of Fungal Infections

Int J Microbiol. 2012;2012:956794. doi: 10.1155/2012/956794. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Abstract

Fungi can cause severe invasive infections especially in the immunocompromised host. Patient populations at risk are increasing due to ongoing developments in cancer treatment and transplantation medicine. Only limited diagnostic tools and few antifungals are available, rendering a significant number of invasive fungal infections life threatening. To reduce mortality rates, a better understanding of the infection processes is urgently required. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is a powerful tool for such purposes, since it allows visualisation of temporal and spatial progression of infections in real time. BLI has been successfully used to monitor infections caused by various microorganisms, in particular bacteria. However, first studies have also been performed on the fungi Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. Although BLI was, in principle, suitable to study the infection process, some limitations remained. Here, different luciferase systems are introduced, and current approaches are summarised. Finally, suggestions for further improvements of BLI to monitor fungal infections are provided.