These days it is well realized that most of the functions of the brain may not be understood through analysis of single neurons. To advance neuro-scientists require the potential to supervise the activity of millions of neurons, both collectively and individually. But, such observations were stillnot possible because of the limited penetration of optical microscopy methods into a running brain.
A group headed by Professor Dr. Daniel Razansky, a team leader at the Institute of Molecular and Biological Imaging (BMI), HemlholtzZentrumMunchen and Lecturer of Molecular Imaging Engineering at the Technical University of Munich, has now identified a method to address such challenge. The novel technique is based on the so-known opto-acoustics that enable non-invasive interrogation of living tissues at the depths of centimeter scale.
“We identified that opto-acoustics could be made sensitive to the issues in calcium ion concentrations resulting from neural activity and offered a rapid functional opto-acoustic neuro-tomography system that can at the same time record signals from a highly big number of neurons,” says Dr. Xose Luis Dean-Ben, first author or the study. Researchers conducted by the researchers in the brains of adults expressed genetically encoded calcium indicator illustrated, for the very first time, the basic ability to directly analyze neural dynamics with theuse of opto-acoustics while combating the longstanding penetration barrier of optical imaging in the opaque brains. The method was also feasible to trace the neural activity during the unrestrained movement of the animals.
“Till now we illustrated virtual analysis on entire brains of adult animals with rough dimensions of 2 x 3 x 4 millimeter,” says the leader of this study, Razansky. With theuse of cutting-edge microscopy techniques are presently constrained to amounts well below a cubic millimeter when it offers to theimage of instant neural activity, as per the researchers. Moreover, their FONT technique is already capable of witnessing volumes of more than 1000 cubic millimeters with the temporal resolution of 10 milliseconds.
The big-scale observations of neural activities is the core basis to comprehending how the brain functions, both under diseased and normal conditions. “Thanks to our novel technique, one can now gather fast activity of innumerable neurons simultaneously. Parallel neural networks with the social media – in the past, we were efficient enough to go through when someone placed a message with a neighbor. Now we can also witness how such message spreads like wildfire,” explains Razansky. “Such novel imaging tool is predicted not just to significantly advance our knowledge on thefunction of thebrain and its pathophysiology but also augment thedevelopment of new therapies targeting neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders,” he confirms.
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