Methods for in vivo molecular imaging

Biochemistry (Mosc). 2012 Dec;77(12):1339-53. doi: 10.1134/S0006297912120012.


Visualization of single molecules and specific subsets of cells is widely used for studies of biological processes and particularly in immunological research. Recent technological advances have provided a qualitative change in biological visualization from studying of "snapshot" pictures to real-time continuous observation of cellular dynamics in vivo. Contemporary methods of in vivo imaging make it possible to localize specific cells within organs and tissues, to study their differentiation, migration, and cell-to-cell interactions, and to follow some intracellular events. Fluorescence intravital microscopy plays an especially important role in high resolution molecular imaging. The methods of intravital microscopy are quickly advancing thanks to improvements in molecular sensors, labeling strategies, and detection approaches. Novel techniques allow simultaneous detection of various probes with better resolution and depth of imaging. In this review, we describe current methods for in vivo imaging, with special accent on fluorescence approaches, and discuss their applications for medical and biological studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Optical Imaging
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Proteins