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Intravitreal Injection and Quantitation of Infection Parameters in a Mouse Model of Bacterial Endophthalmitis

Md Huzzatul Mursalin*1, Erin Livingston*1, Phillip S. Coburn2,3, Frederick C. Miller4, Roger Astley2,3, Michelle C. Callegan1,2,3
* These authors contributed equally


Intraocular bacterial infections are a danger to the vision. Researchers use animal models to investigate the host and bacterial factors and immune response pathways associated with infection to identify viable therapeutic targets and to test drugs to prevent blindness. The intravitreal injection technique is used to inject organisms, drugs, or other substances directly into the vitreous cavity in the posterior segment of the eye. Here, we demonstrated this injection technique to initiate infection in the mouse eye and the technique of quantifying intraocular bacteria. Bacillus cereus was grown in brain heart infusion liquid media for 18 hours and resuspended to a concentration 100 colony forming units (CFU)/0.5 µL. A C57BL/6J mouse was anesthetized using a combination of ketamine and xylazine. Using a picoliter microinjector and glass capillary needles, 0.5 µL of the Bacillus suspension was injected into the mid vitreous of the mouse eye. The contralateral control eye was either injected with sterile media (surgical control) or was not injected (absolute control). At 10 hours post infection, mice were euthanized, and eyes were harvested using sterile surgical tweezers and placed into a tube containing 400 µL sterile PBS and 1 mm sterile glass beads. For ELISAs or myeloperoxidase assays, proteinase inhibitor was added to the tubes. For RNA extraction, the appropriate lysis buffer was added. Eyes were homogenized in a tissue homogenizer for 1-2 minutes. Homogenates were serially diluted 10-fold in PBS and track diluted onto agar plates. The remainder of the homogenates were stored at -80 °C for additional assays. Plates were incubated for 24 hours and CFU per eye was quantified. These techniques result in reproducible infections in mouse eyes and facilitate quantitation of viable bacteria, the host immune response, and omics of host and bacterial gene expression.

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