Background: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model that captures many of the hallmarks of human multiple sclerosis (MS), including blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, inflammation, demyelination and axonal destruction. The standard clinical score measurement of disease severity and progression assesses functional changes in animal mobility; however, it does not offer information regarding the underlying pathophysiology of the disease in real time. The purpose of this study was to apply a novel optical imaging technique that offers the advantage of rapid imaging of relevant biomarkers in live animals.Methods: Advances in non-invasive fluorescence molecular tomographic (FMT) imaging, in combination with a variety of biological imaging agents, offer a unique, sensitive and quantifiable approach to assessing disease biology in living animals. Using vascular (AngioSense 750EX) and protease-activatable cathepsin B (Cat B 680 FAST) near infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging agents to detect BBB breakdown and inflammation, respectively, we quantified brain and spinal cord changes in mice with relapsing-remitting PLP139-151-induced EAE and in response to tolerogenic therapy.Results: FMT imaging and analysis techniques were carefully characterized and non-invasive imaging results corroborated by both ex vivo tissue imaging and comparison to clinical score results and histopathological analysis of CNS tissue. FMT imaging showed clear differences between control and diseased mice, and immune tolerance induction by antigen-coupled PLGA nanoparticles effectively blocked both disease induction and accumulation of imaging agents in the brain and spinal cord.Conclusions: Cat B 680 FAST and AngioSense 750EX offered the combination best able to detect disease in both the brain and spinal cord, as well as the downregulation of disease by antigen-specific tolerance. Non-invasive optical tomographic imaging thus offers a unique approach to monitoring neuroinflammatory disease and therapeutic intervention in living mice with EAE.
- Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)
- Molecular imaging
- Near infrared fluorescence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience