Advanced optical techniques to explore brain structure and function

Year: 2013

Authors: Silvestri L., Allegra Mascaro A.L., Lotti J., Sacconi L., Pavone FS.

Autors Affiliation: European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy (LENS) University of Florence, Italy; National Institute of Optics (INO-CNR), Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; Department of Physics, University of Florence, Italy; International Center for Computational Neurophotonics — ICON Foundation, Florence, Italy

Abstract: Understanding brain structure and function, and the complex relationships between them, is one of the grand challenges of contemporary sciences. Thanks to their flexibility, optical techniques could be the key to explore this complex network. In this manuscript, we briefly review recent advancements in optical methods applied to three main issues: anatomy, plasticity and functionality. We describe novel implementations of light-sheet microscopy to resolve neuronal anatomy in whole fixed brains with cellular resolution. Moving to living samples, we show how real-time dynamics of brain rewiring can be visualized through two-photon microscopy with the spatial resolution of single synaptic contacts. The plasticity of the injured brain can also be dissected through cutting-edge optical methods that specifically ablate single neuronal processes. Finally, we report how nonlinear microscopy in combination with novel voltage sensitive dyes allow optical registrations of action potential across a population of neurons opening promising prospective in understanding brain functionality. The knowledge acquired from these complementary optical methods may provide a deeper comprehension of the brain and of its unique features.


Volume: 6 (1)      Pages from: 1230002  to: 1230002

More Information: The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant agreements Nos. 228334 and 241526. This research project has also been supported by Human Frontier Science Program research grant (RGP0027/2009) and by the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research in the framework of the Flagship Project Nanomax and by Italian Ministry of Health in the framework of the \”Stem cells call for proposals\”. This research has been carried out in the framework of the research activities of ICON foundation supported by \”Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze\”.
KeyWords: Brain; optical microscopy; light sheet microscopy; two-photon microscopy;
DOI: 10.1142/S1793545812300029

Citations: 19
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