In Vivo imaging of influenza virus infection in immunized mice

Rita Czakó, Leatrice Vogel, Elaine W. Lamirande, Kevin W. Bock, Ian N. Moore, Ali H. Ellebedy, Rafi Ahmed, Andrew Mehle, Kanta Subbaraoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Immunization is the cornerstone of seasonal influenza control and represents an important component of pandemic preparedness strategies. Using a bioluminescent reporter virus, we demonstrate the application of noninvasive in vivo imaging system (IVIS) technology to evaluate the preclinical efficacy of candidate vaccines and immunotherapy in a mouse model of influenza. Sequential imaging revealed distinct spatiotemporal kinetics of bioluminescence in groups of mice passively or actively immunized by various strategies that accelerated the clearance of the challenge virus at different rates and by distinct mechanisms. Imaging findings were consistent with conclusions derived from virus titers in the lungs and, notably, were more informative than conventional efficacy endpoints in some cases. Our findings demonstrate the reliability of IVIS as a qualitative approach to support preclinical evaluation of candidate medical countermeasures for influenza in mice. IMPORTANCE Influenza A viruses remain a persistent threat to public health. Vaccination and immunotherapy are effective countermeasures for the control of influenza but must contend with antigenic drift and the risk of resistance to antivirals. Traditional preclinical efficacy studies for novel vaccine and pharmaceutical candidates can be time-consuming and expensive and are inherently limited in scope. In vivo imaging approaches offer the potential to noninvasively track virus replication in real time in animal models. In this study, we demonstrate the utility of bioluminescent imaging for tracking influenza virus replication in the lungs of immunized mice and also identify important factors that may influence the accurate interpretation of imaging results. Our findings support the potential of IVIS approaches to enhance traditional preclinical efficacy evaluation of candidate vaccines and human monoclonal antibodies for the prevention and treatment of influenza.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00714-17
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017


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