Table of Contents
International Journal of Molecular Imaging
Volume 2013, Article ID 287697, 9 pages
Research Article

The Influence of Hypoxia and pH on Bioluminescence Imaging of Luciferase-Transfected Tumor Cells and Xenografts

1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, P.O. Box 800713, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0713, USA
2Department of Neurosurgery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
3Department of Radiation Oncology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
4Department of Radiation Oncology, Georgia Health University, Augusta, GA, USA

Received 26 March 2013; Accepted 13 May 2013

Academic Editor: Hideo Saji

Copyright © 2013 Ashraf A. Khalil et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is a relatively new noninvasive technology used for quantitative assessment of tumor growth and therapeutic effect in living animal models. BLI involves the generation of light by luciferase-expressing cells following administration of the substrate luciferin in the presence of oxygen and ATP. In the present study, the effects of hypoxia, hypoperfusion, and pH on BLI signal (BLS) intensity were evaluated in vitro using cultured cells and in vivo using a xenograft model in nude mice. The intensity of the BLS was significantly reduced in the presence of acute and chronic hypoxia. Changes in cell density, viability, and pH also affected BLS. Although BLI is a convenient non-invasive tool for tumor assessment, these factors should be considered when interpreting BLS intensity, especially in solid tumors that could be hypoxic due to rapid growth, inadequate blood supply, and/or treatment.