Nav: Home

A revolutionary technique allows to image all the cells in a region of the brain

March 12, 2018

Microscopy is a basic tool in research into the biology of any organism given that the elements studied, the cells, are of microscopic and frequently nanoscopic size. Until now, existing microscopy methods to explore living brain tissue have been limited to imaging previously labelled cells only. Yet, owing to technical limitations, not all the cells in a specific region of the brain can be labelled simultaneously; this has restricted the way we see and therefore understand how brain cells, which are highly interconnected, are organised and interact with each other.

Dr Jan Tønnesen (Sweden, 1977), researcher in the Ramón y Cajal Programme at the UPV/EHU's Department of Neurosciences, and who works at the ACHUCARRO centre (Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience) located in the Basque town of Leioa, is one of the authors of a piece of work just published by the prestigious scientific journal CELL. The article describes a new microscopy technique known as SUSHI designed to improve the imaging of cells in living brain tissue.

The new SUSHI (Super-resolution Shadow Imaging) technique allows the tiny space full of liquid surrounding brain cells to be labelled in one sweep, thus obviating the need to individually label all the cells that one is intending to analyse.

Given that this "label" also remains outside the cells, a kind of negative image akin to the film used in old cameras is produced. So the negative image contains the same information about the brain cells as its corresponding positive image, but thanks to the fact that the labelling procedure is more straightforward, it is much easier to obtain this image and all the information contained in it.

According to Dr Tønnesen "The SUSHI technique is revolutionary because it allows us to simultaneously image all the brain cells in a specific region of living brain tissue. In the past we used to come across blank spaces in the microscopy images, because we were unable to label all the cells at the same time. This fact was a big constraint for us. From now on, this technique will enable us to see all the cells in the area of study that we put under the microscope lens as well as all their interactions, and that will allow us to advance our knowledge of brain functions in a healthy organ and in a diseased one".

This advance is the result of a cross-border, interdisciplinary project developed between the research group led by Professor Valentin Nägerl of the University of Bordeaux (France) and Dr Jan Tønnesen, who has joined the UPV/EHU's Department of Neurosciences and who works at the ACHUCARRO facilities inside the university's Science Park in Leioa.
Bibliographical reference

Tønnesen J, Inavalli VVGK & Nägerl UV. "Super-resolution imaging of the extracellular space in living brain tissue" Cell (Feb 22, 2018)

University of the Basque Country

Related Brain Articles:

Study describes changes to structural brain networks after radiotherapy for brain tumors
Researchers compared the thickness of brain cortex in patients with brain tumors before and after radiation therapy was applied and found significant dose-dependent changes in the structural properties of cortical neural networks, at both the local and global level.
Blue Brain team discovers a multi-dimensional universe in brain networks
Using a sophisticated type of mathematics in a way that it has never been used before in neuroscience, a team from the Blue Brain Project has uncovered a universe of multi-dimensional geometrical structures and spaces within the networks of the brain.
New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery
Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues.
Newborn baby brain scans will help scientists track brain development
Scientists have today published ground-breaking scans of newborn babies' brains which researchers from all over the world can download and use to study how the human brain develops.
New test may quickly identify mild traumatic brain injury with underlying brain damage
A new test using peripheral vision reaction time could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a concussion.
This is your brain on God: Spiritual experiences activate brain reward circuits
Religious and spiritual experiences activate the brain reward circuits in much the same way as love, sex, gambling, drugs and music, report researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Brain scientists at TU Dresden examine brain networks during short-term task learning
'Practice makes perfect' is a common saying. We all have experienced that the initially effortful implementation of novel tasks is becoming rapidly easier and more fluent after only a few repetitions.
Balancing time & space in the brain: New model holds promise for predicting brain dynamics
A team of scientists has extended the balanced network model to provide deep and testable predictions linking brain circuits to brain activity.
New view of brain development: Striking differences between adult and newborn mouse brain
Spikes in neuronal activity in young mice do not spur corresponding boosts in blood flow -- a discovery that stands in stark contrast to the adult mouse brain.
Map of teenage brain provides evidence of link between antisocial behavior and brain development
The brains of teenagers with serious antisocial behavior problems differ significantly in structure to those of their peers, providing the clearest evidence to date that their behavior stems from changes in brain development in early life, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy.

Related Brain Reading:

The Better Brain Solution: How to Start Now--at Any Age--to Reverse and Prevent Insulin Resistance of the Brain, Sharpen Cognitive Function, and Avoid Memory Loss
by Steven Masley (Author)

Diabetes ... Alzheimer's disease ... here, from the author of the best-selling 30-Day Heart Tune-Up and Smart Fat, is the first book to show how the brain can become insulin resistant through diet and lifestyle, and to make clear how and why this has been directly linked to cognitive decline and memory loss. With a detailed program developed by the author to prevent and reverse this potentially devastating condition.

Alzheimer's disease is the #1 most terrifying disease today. Despite billions of dollars of research, there are no significant cures for dementia or... View Details

The Brain: The Story of You
by David Eagleman (Author)

Locked in the silence and darkness of your skull, your brain fashions the rich narratives of your reality and your identity. Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human?  In the course of his investigations, Eagleman guides us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the... View Details

This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society
by Kathleen McAuliffe (Author)

“Engrossing … [An] expedition through the hidden and sometimes horrifying microbial domain.” —Wall Street Journal

“Fascinating—and full of the kind of factoids you can't wait to share.” —Scientific American

Parasites can live only inside another animal and, as Kathleen McAuliffe reveals, these tiny organisms have many evolutionary motives for manipulating the behavior of their hosts. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the... View Details

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers
by David Perlmutter (Author), Kristin Loberg (Contributor)

20 View Details

Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life
by David Perlmutter (Author), Kristin Loberg (Contributor)

The bestselling author of Grain Brain uncovers the powerful role of gut bacteria in determining your brain's destiny.

Debilitating brain disorders are on the rise-from children diagnosed with autism and ADHD to adults developing dementia at younger ages than ever before. But a medical revolution is underway that can solve this problem: Astonishing new research is revealing that the health of your brain is, to an extraordinary degree, dictated by the state of your microbiome - the vast population of organisms that live in your body and outnumber your own cells... View Details

The Brain: What Everyone Needs To Know®
by Gary L. Wenk (Author)

What is the principle purpose of a brain? A simple question, but the answer has taken millennia for us to begin to understand. So critical for our everyday existence, the brain still remains somewhat of a mystery. Gary L. Wenk takes us on a tour of what we do know about this enigmatic organ, showing us how the workings of the human brain produce our thoughts, feelings, and fears, and answering questions such as: How did humans evolve such a big brain? What is an emotion and why do we have them? What is a memory and why do we forget so easily? How does your diet affect how you think and feel?... View Details

Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health
by Dr. Caroline Leaf (Author)

Scientist and therapist helps readers understand how the power of their thoughts can help them manage stress, break unhealthy patterns, use their brains more effectively, and overcome mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual obstacles. View Details

The Human Brain Book
by Rita Carter (Author)

Combining the latest findings from neuroscience with new brain imaging techniques, as well as developments on infant brains, telepathy, and brain modification, this new edition of DK's The Human Brain Book covers brain anatomy, function, and disorders in unprecedented detail.

With its unique 22-page atlas, illustrated with MRI scans, and an interactive DVD, The Human Brain Book is a perfect resource for families, students, or anyone interested in human biology, anatomy, and neuroscience.

View Details

Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power
by Lisa Mosconi PhD (Author)

How to eat for maximum brain power and health from an expert in both neuroscience and nutrition.

Like our bodies, our brains have very specific food requirements. And in this eye-opening book from an author who is both a neuroscientist and a certified integrative nutritionist, we learn what should be on our menu.
Dr. Lisa Mosconi, whose research spans an extraordinary range of specialties including brain science, the microbiome, and nutritional genomics, notes that the dietary needs of the brain are substantially different from those of the other organs,... View Details

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
by Norman Doidge (Author)

An astonishing new science called "neuroplasticity" is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Consequences Of Racism
What does it mean to be judged before you walk through the door? What are the consequences? This week, TED speakers delve into the ways racism impacts our lives, from education, to health, to safety. Guests include poet and writer Clint Smith, writer and activist Miriam Zoila Pérez, educator Dena Simmons, and former prosecutor Adam Foss.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#465 How The Nose Knows
We've all got a nose but how does it work? Why do we like some smells and not others, and why can we all agree that some smells are good and some smells are bad, while others are dependant on personal or cultural preferences? We speak with Asifa Majid, Professor of Language, Communication and Cultural Cognition at Radboud University, about the intersection of culture, language, and smell. And we level up on our olfactory neuroscience with University of Pennsylvania Professor Jay Gottfried.