Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

New in vivo imaging developments from Nigel Emptage's team in the Department of Pharmacology

For over two decades, neuroscientists have been using in vivo microscopy to study the structure and function of neurons in the living brain. Most of this work has focused on the superficial cerebral cortex, whilst regions located deep in the brain have remained relatively impervious to non-invasive optical probing. Many of these regions are implicated in important neuronal processes such as gating of sensory and motor information, learning and memory, as well as neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington and Parkinson’s. An exciting new study by Vasquez-Lopez, S.A. et al., demonstrates the use of a novel microscopy method for minimally invasive in vivo imaging in deep brain regions using a tiny optical fibre the width of a human hair. 

The study, published in the current issue of the journal "Light: Science & Applications", demonstrated how this novel imaging method can be used to acquire fully resolved images of subcellular neuronal structure with micrometre resolution and minimal probe footprint. The method makes use of holographic light control to acquire images without the need for bulky objectives which can cause considerable damage to the tissue overlying the structures of interest. The volume of tissue lesion was reduced by more than 100-fold, compared to other endoscopic methods, while preserving image quality. These results represent a major breakthrough in the compromise between high-resolution imaging and tissue damage, heralding new possibilities for deep-brain imaging in vivo. Future developments will now aim to achieve the scanning speeds necessary for dynamic imaging over wider areas, enabling neuronal population activity to be monitored and a critical step toward brain imaging in freely moving animals.

Similar stories

Collaborating with Youth is Key to Studying Mental Health Management

Research Highlights

The Global Mental Health Databank, a feasibility study, hopes to enable youth from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and India to work directly with mental health researchers to better understand how young people can manage their own mental health.

SSRI Treatment in Young People with Depression and Anxiety

Research Highlights

Results from an insight review commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, highlights what is currently known about the benefits and risks of using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for the treatment of depression and anxiety in young people.

The brain understands relationships in the same way as it understands how to move in space

Research Highlights

Researchers led by a team at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging at the University of Oxford have developed a new framework that binds together the way the brain forms maps of space to the way the brain understands relationships of any kind – general mental maps.

Researchers reveal surprising simplicity behind our ability to hear

Research Highlights

A computational modelling study from the King Group demonstrates that the way sounds are transformed from the ear to the brain’s auditory cortex may be simpler than expected. These findings not only highlight the value of computational modelling for determining the principles underlying neural processing, but could also be useful for improving treatments for patients with hearing loss.