An intravital window to image the colon in real time.
Intravital microscopy is a powerful technique to observe dynamic processes with single-cell resolution in live animals. No intravital window has been developed for imaging the colon due to its anatomic location and motility, although the colon is a key organ where the majority of microbiota reside and common diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and colon cancer occur. Here we describe an intravital murine colonic window with a stabilizing ferromagnetic scaffold for chronic imaging, minimizing motion artifacts while maximizing long-term survival by preventing colonic obstruction. Using this setup, we image fluorescently-labeled stem cells, bacteria, and immune cells in live animal colons. Furthermore, we image nerve activity via calcium imaging in real time to demonstrate that electrical sacral nerve stimulation can activate colonic enteric neurons. The simple implantable apparatus enables visualization of live processes in the colon, which will open the window to a broad range of studies.
Rakhilin, N; Garrett, A; Eom, C-Y; Chavez, KR; Small, DM; Daniel, AR; Kaelberer, MM; Mejooli, MA; Huang, Q; Ding, S; Kirsch, DG; Bohórquez, DV; Nishimura, N; Barth, BB; Shen, X
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