Molecular imaging using labeled donor tissues reveals patterns of engraftment, rejection, and survival in transplantation

Yu An Cao, Michael H. Bachmann, Andreas Beilhack, Yang Yang, Masashi Tanaka, Rutger Jan Swijnenburg, Robert Reeves, Cariel Taylor-Edwards, Stephan Schulz, Timothy C. Doyle, C. Garrison Fathman, Robert C. Robbins, Leonore A. Herzenberg, Robert S. Negrin, Christopher H. Contag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Tissue regeneration and transplantation of solid organs involve complex processes that can only be studied in the context of the living organism, and methods of analyzing these processes in vivo are essential for development of effective transplantation and regeneration procedures. We utilized in vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to noninvasively visualize engraftment, survival, and rejection of transplanted tissues from a transgenic donor mouse that constitutively expresses luciferase. Dynamic early events of hematopoietic reconstitution were accessible and engraftment from as few as 200 transplanted whole bone marrow (BM) cells resulted in bioluminescent foci in lethally irradiated, syngeneic recipients. The transplantation of autologous pancreatic Langerhans islets and of allogeneic heart revealed the tempo of transplant degeneration or immune rejection over time. This imaging approach is sensitive and reproducible, permits study of the dynamic range of the entire process of transplantation, and will greatly enhance studies across various disciplines involving transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-139
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 15 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Molecular imaging
  • Stem cells
  • Tissue regeneration
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation

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