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Longitudinal intravital imaging of the femoral bone marrow reveals plasticity within marrow vasculature.

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Reismann, David 
Stefanowski, Jonathan 
Günther, Robert 
Rakhymzhan, Asylkhan 


The bone marrow is a central organ of the immune system, which hosts complex interactions of bone and immune compartments critical for hematopoiesis, immunological memory, and bone regeneration. Although these processes take place over months, most existing imaging techniques allow us to follow snapshots of only a few hours, at subcellular resolution. Here, we develop a microendoscopic multi-photon imaging approach called LIMB (longitudinal intravital imaging of the bone marrow) to analyze cellular dynamics within the deep marrow. The approach consists of a biocompatible plate surgically fixated to the mouse femur containing a gradient refractive index lens. This microendoscope allows highly resolved imaging, repeatedly at the same regions within marrow tissue, over months. LIMB reveals extensive vascular plasticity during bone healing and steady-state homeostasis. To our knowledge, this vascular plasticity is unique among mammalian tissues, and we expect this insight will decisively change our understanding of essential phenomena occurring within the bone marrow.



Animals, Bone Marrow, Bone Marrow Cells, Femur, Hematopoiesis, Homeostasis, Intravital Microscopy, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton, Stem Cell Niche

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Nat Commun

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC