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In vivo molecular optical imaging has significant potential to delineate and measure, at the macroscopic level, in vivo biological processes that are occurring at the cellular and molecular level. Optical imaging has already been developed for in vitro and ex vivo applications in molecular and cellular biology (e.g. fluorescence confocal microscopy), but is still at an early stage of development as a whole-animal in vivo imaging technique. Both sensitivity and spatial resolution remain incompletely defined. Rapid advances in hardware technology and highly innovative reporter probes and dyes will be expected to deliver significant insight into perturbations of molecular pathways that occur in disease, ultimately with the potential of translating into future molecular imaging techniques for patients with arthritis. This review will focus on currently available technologies for live in vivo animal optical imaging, including fluorescence reflectance imaging, potential novel tomographic techniques, bioluminescence reporter technology and potential novel labelling techniques, highlighting in particular the potential application of in vivo fluorescence imaging in arthritis.

Original publication




Journal article


Rheumatology (oxford)

Publication Date





1436 - 1446


Animals, Arthritis, Experimental, Diagnostic Imaging, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Models, Animal, Tomography, Optical