The immune system is highly evolved and can respond to infection throughout the body. Pathogen-specific immune cells are usually generated in secondary lymphoid tissues (e.g., spleen, lymph nodes) and then migrate to sites of infection where their functionality is shaped by the local milieu. Because immune cells are so heavily influenced by the infected tissue in which they reside, it is important that their interactions and dynamics be studied in vivo. Two-photon microscopy is a powerful approach to study host-immune interactions in living tissues, and recent technical advances in the field have enabled researchers to capture movies of immune cells and infectious agents operating in real time. These studies have shed light on pathogen entry and spread through intact tissues as well as the mechanisms by which innate and adaptive immune cells participate in thwarting infections. This review focuses on how two-photon microscopy can be used to study tissue-specific immune responses in vivo, and how this approach has advanced our understanding of host-immune interactions following infection.
- two-photon microscopy