In Vivo Imaging of Reactive Oxygen Species in a Murine Wound Model

J Vis Exp. 2018 Nov 17;(141). doi: 10.3791/58450.


The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a hallmark of inflammatory processes, but in excess, oxidative stress is widely implicated in various pathologies such as cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetes. We have previously shown that dysfunction of the Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2)/ Kelch-like erythroid cell-derived protein 1 (Keap1) signaling pathway leads to extreme ROS imbalance during cutaneous wound healing in diabetes. Since ROS levels are an important indicator of progression of wound healing, specific and accurate quantification techniques are valuable. Several in vitro assays to measure ROS in cells and tissues have been described; however, they only provide a single cumulative measurement per sample. More recently, the development of protein-based indicators and imaging modalities have allowed for unique spatiotemporal analyses. L-012 (C13H8ClN4NaO2) is a luminol derivative that can be used for both in vivo and in vitro chemiluminescent detection of ROS generated by NAPDH oxidase. L-012 emits a stronger signal than other fluorescent probes and has been shown to be both sensitive and reliable for detecting ROS. The time lapse applicability of L-012-facilitated imaging provides valuable information about inflammatory processes while reducing the need for sacrifice and overall reducing the number of study animals. Here, we describe a protocol utilizing L-012-facilitated in vivo imaging to quantify oxidative stress in a model of excisional wound healing using diabetic mice with locally dysfunctional Nrf2/Keap1.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods*
  • Mice
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Reactive Oxygen Species