Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

PROBLEM: Pregnancy is a challenge to the maternal immune system as it allows the growing of a semiallogeneic fetus within the uterus. Such tolerance suggests a set of complex cellular distributions and interactions inside the organ. Until now, direct observation of such processes was absent because proper intravital imaging techniques were not available. METHOD: We developed a new two-photon microscope stage together with a set of surgical procedures to provide direct observation of immune cell within the mouse uterus. RESULTS: Using our technique, we observed an accumulation of dendritic cells (DCs) in the uterus during the estrus phase of the estrus cycle. Some of the observed DC clusters were located near the lumen of the uterus or small blood vessels, each situated on the antimesometrium side. CONCLUSION: While two-photon microscopy has become a widely used technology for intravital imaging, new advances in the development of staging and experimental protocols can still push the limits of this technique for exploring new biology. As proof of this, we demonstrated that with specially designed staging and surgical protocols, we observed the formation of DC clusters in the uterus; structures that may play a role in the complex immunology of the uterus-fetal interface.

Original publication




Journal article


Am j reprod immunol

Publication Date





281 - 289


Animals, Cell Communication, Cells, Cultured, Dendritic Cells, Estrus, Female, Immune Tolerance, Maternal-Fetal Exchange, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Mice, Transgenic, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton, Placental Circulation, Pregnancy, Uterus