Tracking mouse bone marrow monocytes in vivo.

Hamon P, Rodero MP, Combadière C, Boissonnas A.

Real time multiphoton imaging provides a great opportunity to study cell trafficking and cell-to-cell interactions in their physiological 3-dimensionnal environment. Biological activities of immune cells mainly rely on their motility capacities. Blood monocytes have short half-life in the bloodstream; they originate in the bone marrow and are constitutively released from it. In inflammatory condition, this process is enhanced, leading to blood monocytosis and subsequent infiltration of the peripheral inflammatory tissues. Identifying the biomechanical events controlling monocyte trafficking from the bone marrow towards the vascular network is an important step to understand monocyte physiopathological relevance. We performed in vivo time-lapse imaging by two-photon microscopy of the skull bone marrow of the Csf1r-Gal4VP16/UAS-ECFP (MacBlue) mouse. The MacBlue mouse expresses the fluorescent reporter enhanced cyan fluorescent protein (ECFP) under the control of a myeloid specific promoter, in combination with vascular network labelling. We describe how this approach enables the tracking of individual medullar monocytes in real time to further quantify the migratory behaviour within the bone marrow parenchyma and the vasculature, as well as cell-to-cell interactions. This approach provides novel insights into the biology of the bone marrow monocyte subsets and allows to further address how these cells can be influenced in specific pathological conditions.

J Vis Exp. 2015 Feb 27;(96):e52476.
doi: 10.3791/52476.