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Proceedings Paper

Multicolor fluorescence imaging of subcellular dynamics of cancer cells in live mice
Author(s): Robert M. Hoffman
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Paper Abstract

We have genetically engineered dual-color fluorescent cells with one color in the nucleus and the other in the cytoplasm that enables real-time nuclear-cytoplasmic dynamics to be visualized in living cells in the cytoplasm in vivo as well as in vitro. To obtain the dual-color cells, red fluorescent protein (RFP) was expressed of the cancer cells, and green fluorescent protein (GFP) linked to histone H2B was expressed in the nucleus. Mitotic cells were visualized by whole-body imaging after injection in the mouse ear. Common carotid artery or heart injection of dual-color cells and a reversible skin flap enabled the external visualization of the dual-color cells in microvessels in the mouse where extreme elongation of the cell body as well as the nucleus occurred. The migration velocities of the dual-color cancer cells in the capillaries were measured by capturing individual images of the dual-color fluorescent cells over time. Human HCT-116-GFP-RFP colon cancer and mouse mammary tumor (MMT)-GFP-RFP cells were injected in the portal vein of nude mice. Extensive clasmocytosis (destruction of the cytoplasm) of the HCT-116-GFP-RFP cells occurred within 6 hours. The data suggest rapid death of HCT-116-GFP-RFP cells in the portal vein. In contrast, MMT-GFP-RFP cells injected into the portal vein mostly survived and formed colonies in the liver. However, when the host mice were pretreated with cyclophosphamide, the HCT-116-GFP-RFP cells also survived and formed colonies in the liver after portal vein injection. These results suggest that a cyclophosphamide-sensitive host cellular system attacked the HCT-116-GFP-RFP cells but could not effectively kill the MMT-GFP-RFP cells. With the ability to continuously image cancer cells at the subcellular level in the live animal, our understanding of the complex steps of metastasis will significantly increase. In addition, new drugs can be developed to target these newly visible steps of metastasis.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 February 2006
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 6098, Genetically Engineered Probes for Biomedical Applications, 60980D (23 February 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.644923
Show Author Affiliations
Robert M. Hoffman, AntiCancer, Inc. (United States)
Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6098:
Genetically Engineered Probes for Biomedical Applications
Alexander P. Savitsky; Rebekka M. Wachter, Editor(s)

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