Visualizing changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression using bioluminescence imaging in living mice.
ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a fundamental role in expressing various neural functions including memory consolidation. Alterations of BDNF levels in the brain are associated with neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Therefore, it is important to understand how levels of BDNF are controlled. Recently we generated a novel transgenic mouse strain, termed the Bdnf-Luciferase transgenic (Bdnf-Luc Tg) mouse, to monitor changes in Bdnf expression. In the present study, we detected the bioluminescence signal from living Bdnf-Luc Tg mice after intraperitoneal administration of d-luciferin. Despite high levels of Bdnf expression in the brain, it was difficult to detect a signal from the brain region, probably because of its poorly penetrable (short-wavelength) bioluminescence. However, we could detect the changes in the bioluminescence signal in the brain region using a luciferin analogue generating a near-infrared wavelength of bioluminescence. We also found a strong correlation between increases in body weight and bioluminescence signal in the abdominal region of Tg mice fed a high-fat diet. These results show that changes in Bdnf expression can be visualized using living mice, and that the Tg mouse could be a powerful tool for clarification of the role of Bdnf expression in pathophysiological and physiological conditions.
Project description:Altered levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been reported in neurologically diseased human brains. Therefore, it is important to understand how the expression of BDNF is controlled under pathophysiological as well as physiological conditions. Here, we report a method to visualize changes in BDNF expression in the living mouse brain using bioluminescence imaging (BLI). We previously generated a novel transgenic mouse strain, Bdnf-Luciferase (Luc), to monitor changes in Bdnf expression; however, it was difficult to detect brain-derived signals in the strain using BLI with d-luciferin, probably because of incomplete substrate distribution and light penetration. We demonstrate that TokeOni, which uniformly distributes throughout the whole mouse body after systematic injection and produces a near-infrared bioluminescence light, was suitable for detecting signals from the brain of the Bdnf-Luc mouse. We clearly detected brain-derived bioluminescence signals that crossed the skin and skull after intraperitoneal injection of TokeOni. However, repeated BLI using TokeOni should be limited, because repeated injection of TokeOni on the same day reduced the bioluminescence signal, presumably by product inhibition. We successfully visualized kainic acid-induced Bdnf expression in the hippocampus and sensory stimulation-induced Bdnf expression in the visual cortex. Taken together, non-invasive near-infrared BLI using Bdnf-Luc mice with TokeOni allowed us to evaluate alterations in BDNF levels in the living mouse brain. This will enable better understanding of the involvement of BDNF expression in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of neurological diseases.
Project description:In diabetes research, bioluminescence imaging (BLI) has been applied in studies of ?-cell impairment, development, and islet transplantation. To develop a mouse model that enables noninvasive imaging of ? cells, we generated a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mouse in which a mouse 200-kbp genomic fragment comprising the insulin I gene drives luciferase expression (Ins1-luc BAC transgenic mouse). BLI of mice was performed using the IVIS Spectrum system after intraperitoneal injection of luciferin, and the bioluminescence signal from the pancreatic region analyzed. When compared with MIP-Luc-VU mice [FVB/N-Tg(Ins1-luc)VUPwrs/J] expressing luciferase under the control of the 9.2-kbp mouse insulin I promoter (MIP), the bioluminescence emission from Ins1-luc BAC transgenic mice was enhanced approximately 4-fold. Streptozotocin-treated Ins1-luc BAC transgenic mice developed severe diabetes concomitant with a sharp decline in the BLI signal intensity in the pancreas. Conversely, mice fed a high-fat diet for 8 weeks showed an increase in the signal, reflecting a decrease or increase in the ?-cell mass. Although the bioluminescence intensity of the islets correlated well with the number of isolated islets in vitro, the intensity obtained from a living mouse in vivo did not necessarily reflect an absolute quantification of the ?-cell mass under pathological conditions. On the other hand, adenovirus-mediated gene transduction of ?-cell-related transcription factors in Ins1-luc BAC transgenic mice generated luminescence from the hepatic region for more than 1 week. These results demonstrate that BLI in Ins1-luc BAC transgenic mice provides a noninvasive method of imaging islet ? cells and extrapancreatic activity of the insulin gene in the liver under normal and pathological conditions.
Project description:In vivo bioluminescence imaging has been used to monitor Staphylococcus aureus infections in preclinical models by employing bacterial reporter strains possessing a modified lux operon from Photorhabdus luminescens. However, the relatively short emission wavelength of lux (peak 490?nm) has limited tissue penetration. To overcome this limitation, the gene for the click beetle (Pyrophorus plagiophtalamus) red luciferase (luc) (with a longer >600 emission wavelength), was introduced singly and in combination with the lux operon into a methicillin-resistant S. aureus strain. After administration of the substrate D-luciferin, the luc bioluminescent signal was substantially greater than the lux signal in vitro. The luc signal had enhanced tissue penetration and improved anatomical co-registration with infected internal organs compared with the lux signal in a mouse model of S. aureus bacteremia with a sensitivity of approximately 3?×?104 CFU from the kidneys. Finally, in an in vivo mixed bacterial wound infection mouse model, S. aureus luc signals could be spectrally unmixed from Pseudomonas aeruginosa lux signals to noninvasively monitor the bacterial burden of both strains. Therefore, the S. aureus luc reporter may provide a technological advance for monitoring invasive organ dissemination during S. aureus bacteremia and for studying bacterial dynamics during mixed infections.
Project description:Bioluminescence imaging is widely used for optical cell tracking approaches. However, reliable and quantitative bioluminescence of transplanted cells in the brain is highly challenging. In this study we established a new bioluminescence imaging protocol dedicated for neuroimaging, which increases sensitivity especially for noninvasive tracking of brain cell grafts. Different D-Luciferin concentrations (15, 150, 300 and 750 mg/kg), injection routes (i.v., i.p., s.c.), types of anesthesia (Isoflurane, Ketamine/Xylazine, Pentobarbital) and timing of injection were compared using DCX-Luc transgenic mice for brain specific bioluminescence. Luciferase kinetics was quantitatively evaluated for maximal photon emission, total photon emission and time-to-peak. Photon emission followed a D-Luciferin dose-dependent relation without saturation, but with delay in time-to-peak increasing for increasing concentrations. The comparison of intravenous, subcutaneous and intraperitoneal substrate injection reflects expected pharmacokinetics with fastest and highest photon emission for intravenous administration. Ketamine/Xylazine and Pentobarbital anesthesia showed no significant beneficial effect on maximal photon emission. However, a strong difference in outcome was observed by injecting the substrate pre Isoflurane anesthesia. This protocol optimization for brain specific bioluminescence imaging comprises injection of 300 mg/kg D-Luciferin pre Isoflurane anesthesia as an efficient and stable method with a signal gain of approx. 200% (compared to 150 mg/kg post Isoflurane). Gain in sensitivity by the novel imaging protocol was quantitatively assessed by signal-to-noise calculations of luciferase-expressing neural stem cells grafted into mouse brains (transplantation of 3,000-300,000 cells). The optimized imaging protocol lowered the detection limit from 6,000 to 3,000 cells by a gain in signal-to-noise ratio.
Project description:P-glycoprotein (Pgp) [the product of the MDR1 (ABCB1) gene] at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits central nervous system (CNS) entry of many prescribed drugs, contributing to the poor success rate of CNS drug candidates. Modulating Pgp expression could improve drug delivery into the brain; however, assays to predict regulation of human BBB Pgp are lacking. We developed a transgenic mouse model to monitor human MDR1 transcription in the brain and spinal cord in vivo. A reporter construct consisting of ?10 kb of the human MDR1 promoter controlling the firefly luciferase gene was used to generate a transgenic mouse line (MDR1-luc). Fluorescence in situ hybridization localized the MDR1-luciferase transgene on chromosome 3. Reporter gene expression was monitored with an in vivo imaging system following D-luciferin injection. Basal expression was detectable in the brain, and treatment with activators of the constitutive androstane, pregnane X, and glucocorticoid receptors induced brain and spinal MDR1-luc transcription. Since D-luciferin is a substrate of ABCG2, the feasibility of improving D-luciferin brain accumulation (and luciferase signal) was tested by coadministering the dual ABCB1/ABCG2 inhibitor elacridar. The brain and spine MDR1-luc signal intensity was increased by elacridar treatment, suggesting enhanced D-luciferin brain bioavailability. There was regional heterogeneity in MDR1 transcription (cortex > cerebellum) that coincided with higher mouse Pgp protein expression. We confirmed luciferase expression in brain vessel endothelial cells by ex vivo analysis of tissue luciferase protein expression. We conclude that the MDR1-luc mouse provides a unique in vivo system to visualize MDR1 CNS expression and regulation.
Project description:Transgenic (Tg) mouse models of Alzheimer's disease have served as valuable tools for investigating pathogenic mechanisms related to A? accumulation. However, assessing disease status in these animals has required time-consuming behavioral assessments or postmortem neuropathological analysis. Here, we report a method for tracking the progression of A? accumulation in vivo using bioluminescence imaging (BLI) on two lines of Tg mice, which express luciferase (luc) under control of the Gfap promoter as well as mutant human amyloid precursor protein. Bigenic mice exhibited an age-dependent increase in BLI signals that correlated with the deposition of A? in the brain. Bioluminescence signals began to increase in 7-mo-old Tg(CRND8:Gfap-luc) mice and 14-mo-old Tg(APP23:Gfap-luc) mice. When Tg(APP23:Gfap-luc) mice were inoculated with brain homogenates from aged Tg(APP23) mice, BLI detected the accelerated disease onset and induced A? deposition at 11 mo of age. Because of its rapid, noninvasive, and quantitative format, BLI permits the objective repeated analysis of individual mice at multiple time points, which is likely to facilitate the testing of A?-directed therapeutics.
Project description:The aim of this study was to apply multimodal in vivo imaging to assess the influence of altered innate immunity on brain repair after ischemic lesion. Tlr2-deficient mice were compared to wild type controls, as they lack Tlr2-mediated pro-inflammatory signaling triggered by postischemic necrosis. The ischemic lesion was induced by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion for 60 min, followed by brain imaging and analysis at four time points until 28 days after ischemia. Multimodal in vivo imaging involved a combination of 3 modalities: (1) magnetic resonance imaging by T2-weighted scans to assess brain lesion size, (2) bioluminescence imaging of Gap43-luc/gfp transgenic mice to visualize the axonal remodeling, and (3) caged-luciferin bioluminescence imaging of DEVD-luciferin allowing for visualization of caspase 3 and 7 activity in Gap43-luc/gfp mice. This enabled innovative correlation of the MRI-determined lesion size to photon fluxes obtained by bioluminescence imaging. Our data revealed that following ischemia, Tlr2-deficient mice had higher Gap43 expression and higher levels of caspases 3 and 7 activity, which was accompanied by enhanced levels of synaptic plasticity markers DLG4 and synaptophysin when compared to wild type controls. Altered inflammation in Tlr2-deficient mice was accompanied by enhanced elements of post-stroke repair, in particular during the chronic phase of recovery, but also with delayed final consolidation of the brain lesion.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Type 2 diabetes results from failure of the ?-cells to compensate for increased insulin demand due to abnormal levels of metabolic factors. The ob/ob(lep-/-) mouse has been extensively studied as an animal model of type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have shown a correlation between ?-cell function and bioluminescent imaging in lean genetically engineered mice. The ability to noninvasively monitor ?-cell function in ob/ob mice could provide new information on ?-cell regulation in type 2 diabetes. METHODS:To create the B6 Albino ob/ob MIP-luc mice (ob/ob-luc), the ob/ob mouse was crossed with the CD1 MIP-luc mouse. All mice were backcrossed over multiple generations to ensure the genetic background of the transgenic mice was over 96% similar to the background of the original ob/ob mouse. Animal weight, blood glucose levels, insulin in plasma, and in vivo bioluminescence (BLI) were monitored weekly or biweekly for up to 70 weeks of age. BL imaging was performed using IVIS Spectrum (Perkin Elmer) and calculated by integrating the bioluminescence signal between 5 and 10 min after i.v. injection of D-luciferin. Insulin immunohistochemistry determined islet beta cell count and insulin secretion assay determined islet insulin function. RESULTS:There were significant increases in BLI and insulin levels as the ob/ob-luc mice aged while glucose levels gradually decreased. Ob/ob-luc were sacrificed at different time points to determine ex vivo BLI, islet function and total ?-cell numbers using a cell counting training algorithm developed for the Vectra image analysis system (Perkin Elmer). The number of ?-cells increased as the mice aged and all three ex vivo measurements correlated with BLI. CONCLUSIONS:The ob/ob-luc mice can serve as a model of metabolic stress, similar to human type 2 diabetes using BLI as a surrogate marker for ?-cell function.
Project description:PURPOSE:Currently, a variety of red and green beetle luciferase variants are available for bioluminescence imaging (BLI). In addition, new luciferin analogues providing longer wavelength luminescence have been developed that show promise for improved deep tissue imaging. However, a detailed assessment of these analogues (e.g., Akalumine-HCl, CycLuc1, and amino naphthyl luciferin (NH2-NpLH2)) combined with state of the art luciferases has not been performed. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the first time the in vivo brightness and spectral characteristics of firefly (Luc2), click beetle green (CBG99), click beetle red 2 (CBR2), and Akaluc luciferases when paired with different D-luciferin (D-LH2) analogues in vivo. PROCEDURES:Transduced human embryonic kidney (HEK 293T) cells expressing individual luciferases were analyzed both in vitro and in mice (via subcutaneous injection). Following introduction of the luciferins to cells or animals, the resulting bioluminescence signal and photon emission spectrum were acquired using a sensitive charge-coupled device (CCD) camera equipped with a series of band pass filters and spectral unmixing software. RESULTS:Our in vivo analysis resulted in four primary findings: (1) the best substrate for Luc2, CBG99, and CBR2 in terms of signal strength was D-luciferin; (2) the spectra for Luc2 and CBR2 were shifted to a longer wavelength when Akalumine-HCl was the substrate; (3) CBR2 gave the brightest signal with the near-infrared substrate, NH2-NpLH2; and (4) Akaluc was brighter when paired with either CycLuc1 or Akalumine-HCl when paired with D-LH2. CONCLUSION:We believe that the experimental results described here should provide valuable guidance to end users for choosing the correct luciferin/luciferase pairs for a variety of BLI applications.
Project description:In preclinical cancer research, bioluminescence imaging with firefly luciferase and D-luciferin has become a standard to monitor biological processes both in vitro and in vivo. However, the emission maximum (?max) of bioluminescence produced by D-luciferin is 562?nm where light is not highly penetrable in biological tissues. This emphasizes a need for developing a red-shifted bioluminescence imaging system to improve detection sensitivity of targets in deep tissue. Here we characterize the bioluminescent properties of the newly synthesized luciferin analogue, AkaLumine-HCl. The bioluminescence produced by AkaLumine-HCl in reactions with native firefly luciferase is in the near-infrared wavelength ranges (?max=677?nm), and yields significantly increased target-detection sensitivity from deep tissues with maximal signals attained at very low concentrations, as compared with D-luciferin and emerging synthetic luciferin CycLuc1. These characteristics offer a more sensitive and accurate method for non-invasive bioluminescence imaging with native firefly luciferase in various animal models.