Long-Term Cell Fate Tracking of Individual Renal Cells Using Serial Intravital Microscopy

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2150)


Intravital multiphoton microscopy of the kidney is a powerful technique to study alterations in tissue morphology and function simultaneously in the living animal and represents a dynamic and developing research tool in the field. Recent technological advances include serial intravital multiphoton microscopy of the same kidney regions over several weeks and combined with ex vivo histology for cellular biomarker expression of the same cells, which had been subject to serial imaging before. Thus, serial intravital multiphoton microscopy followed by ex vivo histology provides unique tools to perform long-term cell fate tracing of the same renal cells during physiological and pathophysiological conditions, thereby allowing the detection of structural changes of the same renal cells over time. Examples include renal cell migration and proliferation while linking these events to local functional alterations and eventually to the expression of distinct cellular biomarkers. Here, we provide a detailed step-by-step protocol to facilitate serial intravital multiphoton microscopy for long-term in vivo tracking of renal cells and subsequent ex vivo histology for immunohistological staining of the same cells in the fixed tissue.


Intravital imaging Multiphoton microscopy Cell fate tracking Fluorescent reporter Tissue remodeling Immunohistology 



This work was supported in part by US National Institutes of Health grants DK064324, DK100944, and S10OD021833 and by Lupus Research Alliance grant 519100 to J.P-P. IMS was funded by a postdoctoral research fellowship of the German Research Foundation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology and NeuroscienceZilkha Neurogenetic Institute, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Physiology, University of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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