Recent advances in photonics, particularly multi-photon microscopy (MPM) and new molecular and genetic tools are empowering immunologists to answer longstanding unresolved questions in living animals. Using intravital microscopy (IVM) investigators are dissecting the cellular and molecular underpinnings controlling immune cell motility and interactions in tissues. Recent IVM work showed that T cell responses to antigen in lymph nodes are different from those observed in vitro and appear dictated by factors uniquely relevant to intact organs. Other IVM models, particularly in the bone marrow, reveal how different anatomic contexts regulate leukocyte development, immunity, and inflammation. This article will discuss the current state of the field and outline how IVM can generate new discoveries and serve as a "reality check" for areas of research that were formerly the exclusive domain of in vitro experimentation.
SUMEN, C., MEMPEL, T., MAZO, I., & VONANDRIAN, U. (2004). Intravital MicroscopyVisualizing Immunity in Context. Immunity, 21(3), 315–329. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1074-7613(04)00237-7