Chen Y, Maeda A, Bu J, DaCosta R; J Vis Exp. 2016 Jul 28;(113)
Bone marrow is a complex organ that contains various hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells. These cells are involved in many biological processes, including hematopoiesis, immune regulation and tumor regulation. Commonly used methods for understanding cellular actions in the bone marrow, such as histology and blood counts, provide static information rather than capturing the dynamic action of multiple cellular components in vivo. To complement the standard methods, a window chamber (WC)-based model was developed to enable serial in vivo imaging of cells and structures in the murine bone marrow. This protocol describes a surgical procedure for installing the WC in the femur, in order to facilitate long-term optical access to the femoral bone marrow. In particular, to demonstrate its experimental utility, this WC approach was used to image and track neutrophils within the vascular network of the femur, thereby providing a novel method to visualize and quantify immune cell trafficking and regulation in the bone marrow. This method can be applied to study various biological processes in the murine bone marrow, such as hematopoiesis, stem cell transplantation, and immune responses in pathological conditions, including cancer.