Macrophages play a key role in tissue homeostasis as well as in a range of pathological conditions including atherosclerosis, cancer, and autoimmunity. Many aspects of their in vivo behavior are, however, poorly understood. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) with green fluorescent protein (GFP) and firefly luciferase (FLUC) labelled autologous reporter macrophages could potentially offer a powerful tool to study macrophage biology, but this approach has been hindered by the relative difficulty of efficient gene transfer into primary macrophages. Here we describe a straightforward method for producing large numbers of GFP/FLUC expressing mouse primary macrophages utilizing lentivirus vector, cyclosporine, and a double infection strategy. Using this method we achieved up to 60% of macrophages to express GFP with correspondingly high FLUC signal. When injected into the circulation using a mouse model of local biomaterial induced inflammation and osteolysis, macrophages were initially detectable within the lungs, followed by systemic homing to the local area of chronic inflammation in the distal femur. In addition, transduced macrophages maintained their ability to assume M1 and M2 phenotypes although the GFP/FLUC expression was altered by the polarizing signals. These reporter macrophages could prove to be valuable tools to study the role of macrophages in health and disease.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0142736
View details for PubMedID 26555613