Recent advances in intravital imaging of dynamic biological systems

J Pharmacol Sci. 2012;119(3):193-7. doi: 10.1254/jphs.12r03cp. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


Intravital multiphoton microscopy has opened a new era in the field of biological imaging. Focal excitation of fluorophores by simultaneous attack of multiple (normally "two") photons generates images with high spatial resolution, and use of near-infrared lasers for multiphoton excitation allows penetration of thicker specimens, enabling biologists to visualize living cellular dynamics deep inside tissues and organs without thin sectioning. Moreover, the minimized photo-bleaching and toxicity associated with multiphoton techniques is beneficial for imaging of live specimens for extended observation periods. Here we focus on recent findings using intravital multiphoton imaging of dynamic biological systems such as the immune system and bone homeostasis. The immune system comprises highly dynamic networks, in which many cell types actively travel throughout the body and interact with each other in specific areas. Therefore, real-time intravital imaging represents a powerful tool for understanding the mechanisms underlying this dynamic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton / methods*
  • Photons


  • Fluorescent Dyes