Bioluminescence: Imaging modality for in vitro and in vivo gene expression

Ruxana T. Sadikot, Timothy S. Blackwell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

30 Scopus citations


Molecular imaging offers many unique opportunities to study biological processes in intact organisms. Bioluminescence is the emission of light from biochemical reactions that occur within a living organism. Luciferase has been used as a reporter gene in transgenic mice but, until bioluminescence imaging was described, the detection of luciferase activity required either sectioning of the animal or excision of tissue and homogenization to measure enzyme activities in a conventional luminometer. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is based on the idea that biological light sources can be incorporated into cells and animal models artificially that does not naturally express the luminescent genes. This imaging modality has proven to be a very powerful methodology to detect luciferase reporter activity in intact animal models. This form of optical imaging is low cost and noninvasive and facilitates real-time analysis of disease processes at the molecular level in living organisms. Bioluminescence provides a noninvasive method to monitor gene expression in vivo and has enormous potential to elucidate the pathobiology of lung diseases in intact mouse models, including models of inflammation/injury, infection, and cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvanced Protocols in Oxidative Stress I
EditorsDonald Armstrong, Donald Armstrong, Donald Armstrong
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Bioluminescence
  • Gene expression
  • In vivo imaging
  • Infection
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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