UltraMicroscope sheds light on brain damage


Rebecca Pool

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 11:15
Image: Neuronal connections in the spinal cord of a mouse.
Using UltraMicroscope, a light sheet microscope from La Vision BioTec, Germany-based researchers are beginning to understand the mechanisms that lead to neurodegeneration after traumatic brain injury.
Dr Ali Ertürk from the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research (part of the Klinikum der Universität München) at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, has been using light sheet and two-photon microscopy in his research for several years.
Currently group leader of the Acute Brain Injury Research Group, Ertürk faces many challenges in a subject area where very little is known about how initial trauma alters the brain structure.
“One of the main struggles in neuroscience in general is the difficulty to accurately analyse long connections in the brain using tissue sections which deliver only limited spatial information," he highlights. "We use a novel approach aiming at mapping the acute and chronic changes in the entire brain caused by small, well-defined brain lesions."
"To map the pathological brain, we utilize cutting-edge imaging techniques including high-resolution 3D imaging of the entire brain – that we recently developed – and in vivo two-photon imaging," he adds. "Subsequently, we screen for novel molecular players that are altered in chronically affected brain regions to halt secondary neurological problems.”
Ertürk chose instrumentation from LaVision BioTec for his laboratory in Munich after using the company's first generation UltraMicroscope in past neuroscience research.
He and colleagues had discovered a clearing procedure called 3D imaging of solvent-cleared organs, or 3DISCO, which was applicable to diverse tissues including brain, spinal cord, immune organs and tumors.
Whole brain of a GFP-M mouse, which was cleared with 3DISCO method and then imaged with the LaVision UltraMicroscope. [Klinikum der Universität München]
Research continues in Munich, and Ertürk now images entire transparent rodent brains, looking at centimetre lengths of tissue.
The researcher is certain that UltraMicroscope is the only commercial solution for this type of imaging.
He also uses a two-photon microscope for higher resolution imaging of transparent organs albeit with a smaller field of view.
Neuronal connections in the spinal cord of a GFP-M mouse (3DISCO clearing and 2-photon imaging) [Klinikum der Universität München]
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