Animal studies of lymph node metastasis are constrained by limitations in the techniques available for noninvasive monitoring of the progression of lymph node metastasis, as well as difficulties in the establishment of appropriate animal models. To overcome these challenges, this study has developed a mouse model of inter-lymph-node metastasis via afferent lymphatic vessels for use in the development of imaging modalities. We used 14- to 18-week-old MRL/MpJ-/lpr/lpr (MRL/lpr) mice exhibiting remarkable systemic lymphadenopathy, with proper axillary lymph nodes (proper-ALNs) and subiliac lymph nodes (SiLNs) that are 6 to 12 mm in diameter (similar in size to human lymph nodes). When KM-Luc/GFP malignant fibrous histiocytoma-like cells stably expressing the firefly luciferase gene were injected into the SiLN, metastasis could be detected in the proper-ALN within 3 to 9 days, using in vivo bioluminescence imaging. The metastasis route was found to be via the efferent lymphatic vessels of the SiLN, and metastasis incidence depended on the number of cells injected, the injection duration and the SiLN volume. Three-dimensional contrast-enhanced high-frequency ultrasound imaging showed that the blood vessel volume and density in the metastasized proper-ALN significantly increased at 14 days after tumor cell inoculation into the SiLN. The present metastasis model, with lymph nodes similar in size to those of humans, has potential use in the development of ultrasound imaging with high-precision and high-sensitivity as well as other imaging modalities for the detection of blood vessels in lymph nodes during the progression of metastasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)