Bioluminescence imaging: a shining future for cardiac regeneration

Authors

  • Santiago Roura,

    1. ICREC Research Program, Fundació Institut d′Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), Badalona, Spain
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  • Carolina Gálvez-Montón,

    1. ICREC Research Program, Fundació Institut d′Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), Badalona, Spain
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  • Antoni Bayes-Genis

    Corresponding author
    1. Cardiology Service, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Badalona, Spain
    2. Department of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    • ICREC Research Program, Fundació Institut d′Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), Badalona, Spain
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Correspondence to: Antoni BAYES-GENIS, MD, PhD, FESC, ICREC (Heart Failure and Cardiac Regeneration) Research Program, Cardiology Service, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Crta. Canyet, s/n, Badalona 08916, Barcelona, Spain.

Tel: +34-93-4973743

Fax: +34-93-4978654

E-mail: abayes.germanstrias@gencat.cat

Abstract

Advances in bioanalytical techniques have become crucial for both basic research and medical practice. One example, bioluminescence imaging (BLI), is based on the application of natural reactants with light-emitting capabilities (photoproteins and luciferases) isolated from a widespread group of organisms. The main challenges in cardiac regeneration remain unresolved, but a vast number of studies have harnessed BLI with the discovery of aequorin and green fluorescent proteins. First described in the luminous hydromedusan Aequorea victoria in the early 1960s, bioluminescent proteins have greatly contributed to the design and initiation of ongoing cell-based clinical trials on cardiovascular diseases. In conjunction with advances in reporter gene technology, BLI provides valuable information about the location and functional status of regenerative cells implanted into numerous animal models of disease. The purpose of this review was to present the great potential of BLI, among other existing imaging modalities, to refine effectiveness and underlying mechanisms of cardiac cell therapy. We recount the first discovery of natural primary compounds with light-emitting capabilities, and follow their applications to bioanalysis. We also illustrate insights and perspectives on BLI to illuminate current efforts in cardiac regeneration, where the future is bright.

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