This could be a major step towards a better understanding of the functions of deeply hidden brain compartments, such as the formation of memories, as well as related dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz-IPHT) in Jena and the University of Edinburgh have succeeded in using a hair-thin fibre endoscope to gain insights into hardly-accessible brain structures. For the first time, scientists are able to achieve high-resolution observations of neuronal structures inside deep brain areas of living mice. The study has been published in the journal “Light: Science & Applications”.
Using a hair-thin optical fibre, the researchers can look into deep brain areas of a living mouse as if through a keyhole. Recently introduced methods for holographic control of light propagation in complex media enable the use of a multimode fibre as an imaging tool.
Based on this new approach, the scientists designed a compact system for fluorescence imaging at the tip of a fibre, the most minimally invasive endoscopic probe reported thus far.
It offers a much smaller footprint as well as enhanced resolution compared to conventional endoscopes based on fibre bundles or graded-index lenses.
“We are very excited to see our technology making its first steps towards practical applications in neuroscience,” says Dr Sergey Turtaev from Leibniz-IPHT, lead author of the paper.
“For the first time, we have shown that it is possible to examine deep brain regions of a living animal model in a minimally invasive way and to achieve high-resolution images at the same time,” adds IPHT scientist Dr Ivo T. Leite.
Sergey and Ivo work in the research group led by IPHT scientist Prof. Tomáš Čižmár, who developed the holographic method for imaging through a single fibre. Using this approach, the research team succeeded in obtaining images of brain cells and neuronal processes in the visual cortex and hippocampus of living mice with resolution approaching one micrometre (i.e. one thousand times smaller than a millimetre).
Detailed observations within these areas are crucial for research into sensory perception, memory formation, and severe neuronal diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Current investigation methods are strongly invasive, such that it is not possible to observe neuronal networks in these inner regions at work without massive destruction of the surrounding tissue – usual endoscopes comprised of hundreds of optical fibres are too large to penetrate such sensitive brain regions, while the neuronal structures are too tiny to be visualised by non-invasive imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
“This minimally invasive approach will enable neuroscientists to investigate functions of neurons in deep structures of the brain of behaving animals: without perturbing the neuronal circuits in action, it will be possible to reveal the activity of these neuronal circuits while the animal is exploring an environment or learning a new task,” explains project partner Dr Nathalie Rochefort from the University of Edinburgh.
Building up on this work, the research team now wants to address the current challenges of neuroscience, which will entail the delivery of advanced microscopy techniques through single fibre endoscopes. “Under the “Photonics for Life” flag of the Leibniz-IPHT and in the scope of the European Research Council funded project LIFEGATE, we will strive hard to prepare more significant advancements on this result, essentially funnelling the most advanced methods of modern microscopy deep inside the tissues of living and functioning organisms.” concludes Prof. Tomáš Čižmár.
+49 (0) 3641 · 206-225
+49 (0) 3641 · 206-225
Lavinia Meier-Ewert | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Faster detection of atrial fibrillation thanks to smartwatch
18.03.2019 | Universität Greifswald
A peek into lymph nodes
15.03.2019 | Tohoku University
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Information Technology