Bioluminescence imaging as a tool to evaluate germ cells in vitro and transplantation in vivo as fertility preservation of prepubertal male mice

Optical imaging is a particularly powerful technique for studying testicular germ cell transplantation in vivo and in vitro by bioluminescence at the molecular level in the small animal models.


Chi-Huang Chen, M.D., Chia-Woei Wang, M.D., Ming-I. Hsu, M.D., Yen-Hua Huang, Ph.D., Wen-Fu Thomas Lai, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., Chii-Ruey Tzeng, M.D.

Vol 97, Issue 5, Pages 1192-1198



To determine the feasibility of bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to evaluate the efficiency of germ cell transplantation in vitro and in vivo in fertility preservation for infertile male mice.


Transgenic mouse model.


University-based teaching hospital.


Transgenic mice.


Busulfan was used to induce testicular failure in 3-week-old immature FVB/NJNarl wild-type recipient mice. At 8 weeks of age they received hemizygotic germinal cells from 3-week-old immature male FVB/N-Tg (PolII-luc) Ltc strain transgenic donor mice, transplanted into the seminiferous tubules.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Isolated germinal cells were suspended in multiwell plates with the bioluminescent substrate d-luciferin in excess to quantify viable germ cells in vitro. Quantitatively in vivo BLI was applied to demonstrate the efficiency and success of transplantation and BLI of live pups born from wild-type in vivo.


Live birth pup of FVB/N-Tg (PolII-luc) Ltc transgenic mouse were born and imaged by bioluminescence after mating FVB/NJNarl female wild-type and male wild-type infertile recipient 4–6 months after transplantation of germinal cells of FVB/N-Tg (PolII-luc).


The BLI could be applied successfully to this transgenic small animal model. It proved a useful tool for quantifying germ cells in vitro and for assessing the efficacy of germ cell transplantation in vivo.

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