Intravital microscopy is a form of microscopy that allows observing biological processes in live animals (in vivo) at a that makes distinguishing between individual cells of a tissue possible.
In mammals, in some experimental settings a surgical implantation of an imaging window is performed prior to intravital microscopy. This allows repeated observations over several days or weeks. For example, if researchers want to visualize liver cells of a live mouse they will implant an imaging window into mouse’s abdomen.
Mice are the most common choice of animals for intravital microscopy but in special cases other rodents such as rats might be more suitable. Animals are usually anesthetized throughout surgeries and imaging sessions.
Intravital microscopy is used in several areas of research including neurology, immunology, stem cell studies and others. This technique is particularly useful to assess a progression of a disease or an effect of a drug.