Fast-moving objects create blurry images in photography, and the same challenge exists when scientists observe cellular interactions within tissues constantly in motion, such as the breathing lung. In a recent UCSF-led study in mice, researchers developed a method to stabilize living lung tissue for imaging without disrupting the normal function of the organ. The method allowed the team to observe, for the first time, both the live interaction of living cells in the context of their environment and the unfolding of events in the immune response to lung injury.
The finding impacts disease research, the authors say, because the ability to image the lung and other organs with minimum tissue disruption allows scientists to look deeper into the many physiological aspects of injury and diseases like diabetes or cancer.
"The nature of disease is complex, so if scientists can observe in real-time what's happening in tumors or immune responses as they occur, we can find new ways to intervene," said senior author Max Krummel, PhD, UCSF associate professor of Pathology, whose lab developed the new imaging technique for seeing minute details of cellular interaction in tissues.
"We figured out a method for holding cells still enough to image them without interrupting their normal processes. This enabled us to observe cellular events as they happen naturally rather than the usual way, which is to stop the motion of cellular processes in order to photograph them."
The research, published online this week in Nature Methods, includes videos of these immune cell interactions: http://www.nature.com/nmeth/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmeth.1543.html.
To achieve such clear imaging of the fast-moving lung cells, the team developed a custom rig device that applies a gentle amount of suction to the tissue surface, holding the region for viewing in
|Contact: Lauren Hammit|
University of California - San Francisco