Intravital optical microscopy provides a powerful means of studying the cell biology in the most physiologically relevant setting. The ability of multiphoton microscopy to collect optical sections deep into biological tissues has opened up the field of intravital microscopy to high-resolution studies of multiple organs. Presented here are examples of how two-photon microscopy can be applied to intravital studies of kidney physiology and the study of disease processes. These include studies of cell vitality and apoptosis, fluid transport, receptor-mediated endocytosis, blood flow, and leukocyte trafficking. Efficient two-photon excitation of multiple fluorophores permits comparison of multiple probes and simultaneous characterization of multiple parameters. Two-photon microscopy can now provide a level of investigation previously unattainable in intravital microscopy, enabling kinetic analyses and physiological studies of the organs of living animals with subcellular resolution. Therefore, application of this technology will provide direct visualization of organ-specific and cell-specific responses to an array of stimuli and therapeutic approaches, enhancing our understanding and treatment of disease processes.
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