Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy-Based Quantitative Analysis of Aspergillus fumigatus Conidia Distribution in Whole-Mount Optically Cleared Mouse Lung
J Vis Exp. 2021 Sep 18;(175). doi: 10.3791/62436.
Aspergillus fumigatus conidia are airborne pathogens that can penetrate human airways. Immunocompetent people without allergies exhibit resistance and immunological tolerance, while in immunocompromised patients, conidia can colonize airways and cause severe invasive respiratory disorders. Various cells in different airway compartments are involved in the immune response that prevents fungal invasion; however, the spatio-temporal aspects of pathogen elimination are still not completely understood. Three-dimensional (3D) imaging of optically cleared whole-mount organs, particularly the lungs of experimental mice, permits detection of fluorescently labeled pathogens in the airways at different time points after infection. In the present study, we describe an experimental setup to perform a quantitative analysis of A. fumigatus conidia distribution in the airways. Using fluorescent confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), we traced the location of fluorescently labeled conidia in the bronchial branches and the alveolar compartment 6 hours after oropharyngeal application to mice. The approach described here was previously used for detection of the precise pathogen location and identification of the pathogen-interacting cells at different phases of the immune response. The experimental setup can be used to estimate the kinetics of the pathogen elimination in different pathological conditions.