Quantitative Analysis of Monocyte Subpopulations in Murine Atherosclerotic Plaques by Multiphoton Microscopy
Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton
The progressive accumulation of monocyte-derived cells in the atherosclerotic plaque is a hallmark of atherosclerosis. However, it is now appreciated that monocytes represent a heterogeneous circulating population of cells that differ in functionality. New approaches are needed to investigate the role of monocyte subpopulations in atherosclerosis since a detailed understanding of their differential mobilization, recruitment, survival and emigration during atherogenesis is of particular importance for development of successful therapeutic strategies. We present a novel methodology for the in vivo examination of monocyte subpopulations in mouse models of atherosclerosis. This approach combines cellular labeling by fluorescent beads with multiphoton microscopy to visualize and monitor monocyte subpopulations in living animals. First, we show that multiphoton microscopy is an accurate and timesaving technique to analyze monocyte subpopulation trafficking and localization in plaques in excised tissues. Next, we demonstrate that multiphoton microscopy can be used to monitor monocyte subpopulation trafficking in atherosclerotic plaques in living animals. This novel methodology should have broad applications and facilitate new insights into the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and other inflammatory diseases.