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Advances in 3D Imaging - II Not-so-short Circuits

High-resolution microscopy enables 3D imaging of a network of more than 200 neurons

13 December 2022

Not-so-short Circuits

A single neuron in your brain can have up to a thousand branches and each branch can form connections (synapses) with other neurons. It’s complex. Accurately mapping these synapses needs high-resolution electron microscopy images of entire brains and the tools to effectively trace neuron branches. To achieve this, researchers first sliced and imaged a larval zebrafish brain using serial block-face electron microscopy. Next, they used an algorithm to split the images into sections and automatically detect synapses. Consequently, the team reconstructed over 200 neurons in a single specimen, which was also imaged using two-photon calcium microscopy to identify synapse locations. This enabled the team to confirm their approach worked. 3D reconstructions revealed all of the neurons that synapsed with two selected neurons; pictured here is one of those chosen neurons (red) and all of the neurons that synapse with it. This resource will, therefore, prove useful for mapping neuron circuits.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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