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ISRN Hematology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 915868, 6 pages
Research Article

A Method for the In Vivo Measurement of Zebrafish Tissue Neutrophil Lifespan

1MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics, University of Sheffield School of Medicine, Sheffield S10 2RX, UK
2Department of Infection and Immunity, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Received 17 April 2012; Accepted 15 May 2012

Academic Editors: G. Carulli, W. Lösche, and L. Visser

Copyright © 2012 Giles Dixon 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.


Neutrophil function is thought to be regulated, in large part, by limitation of lifespan by apoptosis. A number of studies suggest that circulating neutrophils have a half-life of approximately 6 hours, although contradictory evidence exists. Measuring tissue neutrophil lifespan, however, is more problematic. It is thought that tissue neutrophils survive longer, perhaps with a half-life in the order of 3–5 days, but this has never been directly measured. Zebrafish are an emerging model organism, with several advantages for the study of vertebrate immunity. In zebrafish, neutrophils constitutively assume tissue locations allowing their direct study in vivo. Using a transgenic approach, neutrophils were labelled with a photoconvertible pigment, Kaede. Photoconversion parameters were optimised and the stability of the Kaede confirmed. Individual neutrophils were photoconverted by scanning a confocal 405 nm laser specifically over each cell and their survival monitored for 48 hours, revealing an in vivo half-life for zebrafish tissue neutrophils of around 120 hours (117.7 hrs, 95% CI 95.67–157.8). Laser energy did not extend neutrophil lifespan, and we conclude that this represents a lower bound for the lifespan of a resting tissue neutrophil in the developing zebrafish larva. This is the first direct measurement of the lifespan of an in vivo tissue neutrophil.