“Seeing, in real time and under natural conditions, is believing,” says Ute Frevert, D.V.M., Ph.D., associate professor of medical parasitology at New York University School of Medicine.
“Intravital microscopic imaging has had a major impact on the way we perceive the dynamics of Plasmodium biology and the immune response of the infected host.”
In her presentation, relevantly entitled “From the skin via the liver to the brain: imaging Plasmodium in the vertebrate host,” delivered at the “Gordon Conference” in Rhode Island, Dr. Frevert revealed how live-cell imaging can provide an analysis of the spatial and temporal involvement of T lymphocytes in eliminating the liver stages of the malaria infection.
After transmission by an infected mosquito, Plasmodium sporozoites cross endothelial cells and travel via the bloodstream to the host liver, where they traverse Kupffer cells and gain access to hepatocytes. By using mice expressing green fluorescent protein in endothelial or Kupffer cells for intravital microscopy, Dr. Frevert and collaborators visualized and characterized the sequential events associated with sporozoite migration through the liver parenchyma.
Her approach has fundamentally enhanced our understanding of malaria infection establishment and progression.