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Open Access In Vivo Bioluminescence Imaging

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In vivo bioluminescent imaging (BLI) is a versatile and sensitive tool that is based on detection of light emission from cells or tissues. Bioluminescence, the biochemical generation of light by a living organism, is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Luciferase enzymes, such as that from the North American firefly (Photinus pyralis), catalyze the oxidation of a substrate (luciferin), and photons of light are a product of the reaction. Optical imaging by bioluminescence allows a low-cost, noninvasive, and real-time analysis of disease processes at the molecular level in living organisms. Bioluminescence has been used to track tumor cells, bacterial and viral infections, gene expression, and treatment response. Bioluminescence in vivo imaging allows longitudinal monitoring of a disease course in the same animal, a desirable alternative to analyzing a number of animals at many time points during the course of the disease. We provide a brief introduction to BLI technology, specific examples of in vivo BLI studies investigating bacterial/viral pathogenesis and tumor growth in animal models, and highlight some future perspectives of BLI as a molecular imaging tool.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5410 2: Mouse Imaging Facility, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Room B1D-69 Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1060

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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