A Mouse Model of Endometriosis with Nanoparticle Labeling for In Vivo Photoacoustic Imaging

Reprod Sci. 2022 Oct;29(10):2947-2959. doi: 10.1007/s43032-022-00980-5. Epub 2022 May 31.


Endometriosis is a condition of the female reproductive tract characterized by endometrium-like tissue growing outside the uterus. Though it is a common cause of pelvic pain and infertility, there is currently no reliable noninvasive method to diagnose the presence of endometriosis without surgery, and the pathophysiological mechanisms that lead to the occurrence of symptoms require further inquiry. Due to patient heterogeneity and delayed diagnosis, animal models are commonly used to study the development of endometriosis, but these are costly due to the large number of animals needed to test various treatments and experimental conditions at multiple endpoints. Here, we describe a method for synthesis of multimodal imaging gold-fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) nanoparticles with preclinical application via induction of nanoparticle-labeled endometriosis-like lesions in mice. Labeling donor endometrial tissue fragments with gold-FITC nanoparticles prior to induction of endometriosis in recipients enables in vivo detection of the gold-labeled lesions with photoacoustic imaging. The same imaging method can be used to visualize embryos noninvasively in pregnant mice. Furthermore, the conjugated FITC dye on the gold nanoparticles allows easy isolation of labeled lesion tissue under a fluorescence dissection microscope. After dissection, the presence of gold-FITC nanoparticles and endometrium-like histology of lesions can be verified through fluorescence imaging, gold enhancement, and immunostaining. This method for in vivo imaging of endometriosis-like lesions and fluorescence-guided dissection will permit new experimental possibilities for the longitudinal study of endometriosis development and progression as well as endometriosis-related infertility.

Keywords: Endometriosis; Mouse models of disease; Nanoparticles; Noninvasive imaging; Photoacoustic imaging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endometriosis* / pathology
  • Endometrium / pathology
  • Female
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Gold
  • Humans
  • Infertility*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Metal Nanoparticles*
  • Mice
  • Photoacoustic Techniques*


  • Gold
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate