New device for real-time bioluminescence imaging in moving rodents

Emilie Roncali, Mickael Savinaud, Olivier Levrey, Kelly L. Rogers, Serge Maitrejean, Bertrand Tavitian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) allows detection of biological functions in genetically modified cells, bacteria, or animals expressing a luciferase (i.e., firefly, Renilla, or aequorin). Given the high sensitivity and minimal toxicity of BLI, in vivo studies on molecular events can be performed noninvasively in living rodents. To date, detection of bioluminescence in living animals has required long exposure times that are incompatible with studies on dynamic signaling pathways or nonanaesthetised freely moving animals. Here we develop an imaging system that allows: 1. bioluminescence to be recorded at a rate of 25 images/s using a third generation intensified charge-coupled device (CCD) camera running in a photon counting mode, and 2. coregistration of a video image from a second CCD camera under infrared lighting. The sensitivity of this instrument permits studies with subsecond temporal resolution in nonanaesthetized and unrestrained mice expressing firefly luciferase and imaging of calcium signaling in transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) aequorin. This imaging system enables studies on signal transduction, tumor growth, gene expression, or infectious processes in nonanaesthetized and freely moving animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054035
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • high temporal resolution
  • luminescence
  • moving animals
  • photon counting camera
  • registration
  • unanesthetized
  • video tracking
  • whole body imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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