Sequential in vivo imaging of osteogenic stem/progenitor cells during fracture repair

J Vis Exp. 2014 May 23;(87):51289. doi: 10.3791/51289.


Bone turns over continuously and is highly regenerative following injury. Osteogenic stem/progenitor cells have long been hypothesized to exist, but in vivo demonstration of such cells has only recently been attained. Here, in vivo imaging techniques to investigate the role of endogenous osteogenic stem/progenitor cells (OSPCs) and their progeny in bone repair are provided. Using osteo-lineage cell tracing models and intravital imaging of induced microfractures in calvarial bone, OSPCs can be directly observed during the first few days after injury, in which critical events in the early repair process occur. Injury sites can be sequentially imaged revealing that OSPCs relocate to the injury, increase in number and differentiate into bone forming osteoblasts. These methods offer a means of investigating the role of stem cell-intrinsic and extrinsic molecular regulators for bone regeneration and repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Growth Processes / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Fracture Healing / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Myxovirus Resistance Proteins / genetics
  • Myxovirus Resistance Proteins / metabolism
  • Osteocytes / cytology*
  • Osteocytes / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Mx1 protein, mouse
  • Myxovirus Resistance Proteins