Real-Time High Resolution 3D Imaging of the Lyme Disease Spirochete Adhering to and Escaping from the Vasculature of a Living Host. PLoS Pathog 2008 4(6): e1000090
Pathogenic spirochetes are bacteria that cause a number of emerging diseases worldwide, including Lyme disease. Spirochetes exhibit an unusual form of helical motility and can infect many different tissues. However, the mechanism by which they disseminate from the blood to target sites is unknown. Direct visualization of bacterial pathogens at the single cell level in living hosts is important, since this approach is likely to yield critical insight into disease processes. In a recent paper, researchers engineered a fluorescent strain of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease pathogen, and used confocal microscopy to directly visualize these bacteria in real time and in 3D in living mice. They found that spirochete interaction with and dissemination out of the vasculature was a multi-stage process of unexpected complexity and that spirochete movement appeared to play an integral role in dissemination. This is the first report of high resolution 3D visualization of a bacterial pathogen in a living mammalian host, and provides the first direct insight into spirochete dissemination in vivo.
In the first section of this video you can see B. burgdorferi moving in the ear of a living mouse. The second section shows B. burgdorferi in a postcapillary venule in the skin of the mouse, and the third section shows the actual moment of escape from the blood vessel into the surrounding tissue.
Subscribe to podcasts (free):
[iTunes] Enhanced podcasts & videos
- Bacterial Motility
- Multiple Hosts and Lyme Disease
- Lyme disease diagnosis
- Lyme Disease Video
- Spirochetes: videos