A simple method for in vivo labelling of infiltrating leukocytes in the mouse retina using indocyanine green dye

Dawn A Sim, Colin J Chu, Senthil Selvam, Michael B Powner, Sidath Liyanage, David A Copland, Pearse A Keane, Adnan Tufail, Catherine A Egan, James W B Bainbridge, Richard W Lee, Andrew D Dick, Marcus Fruttiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
305 Downloads (Pure)


We have developed a method to label and image myeloid cells infiltrating the mouse retina and choroid in vivo, using a single depot injection of indocyanine green dye (ICG). This was demonstrated using the following ocular models of inflammation and angiogenesis: endotoxin-induced uveitis, experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization model. A near-infrared scanning ophthalmoscope was used for in vivo imaging of the eye, and flow cytometry was used on blood and spleen to assess the number and phenotype of labelled cells. ICG was administered 72 h before the induction of inflammation to ensure clearance from the systemic circulation. We found that in vivo intravenous administration failed to label any leukocytes, whereas depot injection, either intraperitoneal or subcutaneous, was successful in labelling leukocytes infiltrating into the retina. Progression of inflammation in the retina could be traced over a period of 14 days following a single depot injection of ICG. Additionally, bright-field microscopy, spectrophotometry and flow cytometric analysis suggest that the predominant population of cells stained by ICG are circulating myeloid cells. The translation of this approach into clinical practice would enable visualization of immune cells in situ. This will not only provide a greater understanding of pathogenesis, monitoring and assessment of therapy in many human ocular diseases but might also open the ability to image immunity live for neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease and systemic immune-mediated disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479-87
Number of pages9
JournalDisease Models and Mechanisms
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Indocyanine green
  • Inflammation
  • In vivo imaging

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