Using scattered light to map the intersection points of nerve fibers in the brain

Courtesy: M. Menzel / Jülich Research Center.

A team of researchers from Germany, the Netherlands and Italy has developed a way to use ambient light to map the intersection points of nerve fibers in the brain. In his article published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their work with light scattering in transmission microscopy and what it revealed in the human brain.

One part of learning human brain includes work aimed at creating the architecture of three-dimensional paths that make up nerve fibers, A standard tool for such studies is polarization microscopy, which allows you to create three-dimensional images with a micrometer resolution. But one unsuccessful point for such work is the intersection points, where one fiber network physically intersects another. Modern technology does not allow to determine which fiber is located on top, as is seen on road bridges, or the fibers simply intersect, as on country roads. In this new endeavor, researchers have found a way to map waypoints in unprecedented detail.

To overcome the disadvantages of traditional polarization microscopyResearchers searched for data in traditional transmission microscopy that were not previously studied. They found that the effects of light transmitted during microscopy depend on the angle of the fibers relative to the direction of light propagation. They used this information to create numerical simulation this showed that additional information can be used to distinguish between fibers that cross in the plane and those that point to the plane. They used what they learned from modeling to conduct additional microscopy studies with real nervous tissue. In doing so, they demonstrated a technique to reconstruct a subculture of brain tissue in unprecedented detail, including angles at which nerve fibers cross each other.

Researchers suggest that their efforts can lead to a better understanding of brain architecture, allowing you to create a true three-dimensional representation of the brain. They also suggest that their work may lead to an improved interpretation of medical scans such as MRS, and that their technique may be useful in other applications, such as examining fibrous tissue samples.

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Additional Information:
Miriam Menzel et al. Towards high-resolution reconstruction of three-dimensional architectures of nerve fibers and intersections in the brain using light scattering measurements and finite-difference modeling in the time domain, Physical Review X (2020). DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevX.10.021002

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The use of scattered light to map the points of intersection of nerve fibers in the brain (2020, April 3)
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